Three European Examples That Could Inspire Struggling NHL Teams

It certainly wasn’t a vintage season for hockey in Southern California, with none of the three professional teams qualifying for post-season action. Enough articles have been dedicated to what has gone wrong and how it should be addressed in Los Angeles. We aren’t going to dwell on that here, but, instead, look at some other sports teams across the Atlantic who have addressed similar challenges and turned them into varying degrees of success.

A disclaimer: Some of this will be relatively “leftfield”, and we aren’t going to get into “Moneyball” type specifics. Moreover, you can’t apply everything to hockey. However, it is the fundamentals that are interesting, and they might just serve as inspiration to and they might just serve as inspiration to NHL General Managers, coaches, and decision-makers throughout the league. Without further ado:

Faith in Youth: Ajax Amsterdam

The story of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League has been the rebirth of Ajax Amsterdam as a soccer giant. They have been up against it with the wealthy European clubs raiding the globe for the best of talent. However, Ajax have blasted their way into the semi-finals of the Champions League, taking out Juventus and Real Madrid in the process. The team has some wonderful young players from its academy, including 19-year-old captain Matthijs De Light – the youngest ever captain in the club’s history.

The faith in youth – several Ajax players would be still in college in America – is proving to be a winning formula for the Dutch club. Money is pouring into sportsbooks for this team at +400.00 to upset favorites Barcelona (+150.00) and Liverpool (+250.00, odds from Betfair). Consider that they were priced at over +10000 just a few weeks ago. If you want to back them, you can check these no deposit free bet guide to do it for free.

Tipping Point Theory: British Cycling

British cycling covers a broad spectrum of teams and disciplines, but consider the following: From 1924-2004 Britain’s cyclists won a total of 4 gold medals at the Olympics spanning 80 years, since then, they have won 22; also, Britain’s cyclists had never won the Tour de France until 2012, but have now won five of the last six. Two British cyclists, Chris Froome (+137.50) and Geraint Thomas (+250.00) are the clear favorites for the upcoming Tour de France.

So, what the heck changed in British cycling to make them so successful? As with all sports, it’s never one thing, but British cycling has had a commitment to a tipping point-style theory of success, meaning that getting small things right can lead to big changes. In practice, that means the Brits will design helmets that might be aerodynamic to shave 0.1 secs of a lap or have wheels that maximize speed with minimum efficiency. Every possible advantage is considered, added to the mix and the end result is a period of success like no other in its history.

A Belief in Something Bigger Than Sport: Ireland Rugby Union

When Ireland take to the field at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in a few months, they will be captained by Rory Best of Northern Ireland, i.e. the United Kingdom. Irish rugby is unique, as it unites an island fractured by political division. Rugby isn’t even the main sport on any part of the island, but it is the great unifier. Over the last couple of decades, the rugby association has brought the best together from the four provinces, creating a team that goes beyond politics and divisions.

Has it worked? 100%. This small nation is ranked as the third-best rugby team on the planet, ahead of traditional powerhouses like Australia and South Africa. When the Rugby World Cup goes ahead in Japan in September, Ireland will start as +700 third favorites, behind England (+550) and the mighty New Zealand (+110, Unibet). If they can beat New Zealand, who are arguably the most dominant sports team in history, then it will be evidence of not just sporting achievement, but of the healing of a nation.

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