Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!
The new Team Challenge Cup event is taking place this weekend in Spokane. I had tickets to this event but I have chosen not to attend. Yes, Yuzu declining his invite had a lot to do with my decision, but there were other factors too, which I will write about later. Watching some of the top skaters decline to participate, either due to injury or other reasons, it was hard to stay excited about this event. The ISU also made the scoring system for this new event so convaluded that Jackie Wong @rockerskating had to post an explanation for many fans in order to understand it (Thanks Jackie!).
I’m not a huge fan of the team event format, even during the Olympics. I guess I am a bit old fashioned that way or simply a purist, I just enjoy the true individual events in figure skating (mens, womens, pairs, dance).
It got me thinking, what would get me more excited about another team-like event that is not part of the Grand Prix series, that occurs after Worlds?? Well, Yuzu’s participation of course, but after that, it’s a tough sell. Well, first off, the timing of the event isn’t very good. By the time Worlds is over, the skaters are tired, it’s a long season for them. Many of them have been nursing injuries for some time, and many of them need a break.
So, here is my idea: We should lobby the ISU to modify the “Team Event” so that it is mid-season, like February, and have it be more of a Figure Skating All Star weekend, like the NHL and NBA format!!
NHL All Star Weekend:
While the top executives at the NHL are constantly trying to tinker with the All-Star game and make it enjoyable for the fans, the highlight of the weekend is usually the skills competition before the actual All-Star game.
In the NHL, the skills competition includes (but not limited to):
Players are allowed to have fun, be creative (breakaway skills contest) and it makes for pure enjoyment for the fans!
This year, the actual game format was changed from the normal 5 on 5 non-physical slow game where the goalies are hung out to dry. Fans this past season were treated to a new format, a full game played 3 on 3 which was a novel idea, and in my opinion made the game much more enjoyable as the players actually made an effort. Given that there was also a $1 million prize awarded to the team that won was a good incentive. Good improvements, kudos NHL!
NBA All Star Weekend:
Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t watch the NBA much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been inundated with updates about the NBA during All Star weekend by my friends. Living so close to the USA, it’s hard not to hear about it.
In the NBA, the skills competition includes (but not limited to):
The slam dunk contest is always a fan favorite! Players get to be creative in their approaches, and are rewarded in the scoring for creativeness! The game itself afterwards features a list of the best players in the league today. I have never actually watched an NBA All-Star game but usually read about it afterwards.
Now, imagine if we modified the existing Team Events into a yearly ISU Figure Skating All Star weekend event!! They could still have the “team” competition concept they they are trying to push, but they could add a skills competition at the beginning which might include:
Then the team competition aspect of it could be a long program competition, after the skills competition day. Keep it simple!
The ISU currently has the Team Challenge Cup event (and another similar event called the World Team Trophy) however they are missing what could be the most exciting part of the event!! Imagine what it would be like if they had some sort of skills competiton at the beginning of the event! Fans would be treated to the type of excitement that we see Yuzu excited for after ice shows, the quad jump offs!!
Obviously I would be biased in my opinion that Yuzu would win all of the skills competition elements, but imagine in the past who would have been winners:
Because this would be “All-Star” event, participation could easily be determined by world ranking as they currently do the invites for the Team Events. Then you can also have fan voting for one of the entries like they are trying to do today to involve fans.
Like I said, it’s just an idea. If anyone has seen the skills competition of an NHL or NBA All Star event, you will know that during the skills events, the players are relaxed, having fun, and it is a pleasure for the fans to watch. I think this is what is missing from these Team Events.
I also think this would attract many more fans, both current and new, to figure skating!
Go Yuzu Go!! Doki Doki