HELL yes. The Winter Olympics just don't hit without a true marquee event. I don't think I watched one second of olympic hockey the last couple of cycles because the NHL wasn't involved. They either needed to do amateur under 23 or the WJC rosters and they split the difference and fielded teams with guys who weren't good enough to play in either. The players wanted it, the fans wanted it, the TV networks wanted it, but 32 owners repeatedly said no because of the injury concerns and having to pause the season. I don't fully understand why they changed their mind, but I don't care. I am sure it was just about money. Grow the game in China in 2026 to get that sweet streaming money. 2030 is in Europe. It makes sense.
Its going to be a great tournament. I don't think there is a true favorite anymore. Canada is always going to be Canada, but the United States takes a back seat to nobody now. I can't wait to see the Tkachuk brothers bully people while Matthews and Eichel finally give the elite centers we've never had at the international level for the biggest competitions.
I will say though...the international hockey tournaments don't hit as hard without Russia. They need to be included. The world needs a villain. We need another team to hate to give it more juice. And...is holding Russia out of sports really impacting anything? Pretty sure the war in Ukraine is still going on while Russia has been banned from every hockey tournament since the invasion. The Soviets murdered millions and nobody thought about banning them. The tournament needs to be best on best.
This is a great day for hockey no matter the outcome though.