Sorry if this has been rehashed over and over again but I think is worth to think a bit about. Since it's played at the same time as the NHL playoffs it doesn't get much media interest in NA, it's a bit of a youth or 'losers' tournament. But from a european perspective it's covered 10-20 times more than the NHL playoffs. Heaps of live games on TV, massive press coverage, special edition of newspapers and yada yada. So it becomes the media image of hockey, the big games we see is WC and Olympic ones. And given that such a large portion of the NHL players of today are european, it actually becomes important for NHL as well. I think that if you asked the euro players of today in NHL of their most important hockey memories watched while growing up, the majority will list memories from WC and Olympic games. Everyone (almost) dreams of an NHL career, but much of the drive for the youths comes from watching their national team. I think.