Connor McDavid happy to represent North America, but won't do it again
Team North America's Connor McDavid can't wait to represent Canada at future international competitions like the Olympics -- if the NHL allows its players to participate. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press)
One and done.
That’s the way Connor McDavid is viewing his experience for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey. The 19-year-old is one of three players — Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews are the others — who would be eligible to play for the Under-24 team if the tournament continues this format in 2020.
But by then, the Edmonton Oilers forward believes he should be playing for Team Canada.
“Honestly, for me in four years, I definitely hope I can represent my country,” said McDavid. “You only get a few chances to wear the Canadian logo and represent your country in events like this in best-on-best.
“When you grow up I don’t think I would want to represent Team North America twice and not have the opportunity to represent my country. I’m sure Auston and Jack would say the same thing.”
The NHL and NHLPA have not said whether the current format of having six countries and a Team Europe and Team North America would return the next time a World Cup is held. Some have suggested that if there is an under-24 team, players like McDavid would be exempt from participating twice.
That makes sense since the idea behind Team North America was to provide a chance for young players who probably wouldn’t make Canada or the United States’ rosters to participate in the World Cup. But that never really applied to McDavid.
Four years from now, he might be the best player on the planet. Heck, McDavid could have made Canada’s roster this year. And he is not alone.
From Eichel and Matthews to Johnny Gaudreau and Dylan Larkin, there were several players that probably put themselves in a position to represent their country in future competitions. Based on how the U.S. fared in the tournament, the Americans could have used them this year as well.
“I think the America guys have,” said McDavid. “The Canadians, it’s hard to argue with the team they’ve put together. I think that definitely every one on our team has had a good showing. I think the future looks good for the Under-24 guys.
“You see how exciting it’s been. I’m not sure what it will look like in four years from now.”
While McDavid is not looking to play for Team North America again, he believes the concept was a good one and wouldn’t mind if it continued at the next World Cup — but not at the expense of the Olympics. The NHL has not decided whether or not it will participate in South Korea in 2018, but it’s clear which way McDavid is leaning.
“For a young guy like me who’s never had the opportunity to play in the Olympics, I would say 100%,” he said. “That would be so exciting. If I was lucky enough to do that, I would definitely want that opportunity and would want to see the NHL guys there.
“I’m sure a lot of guys would say that.”