Canadians do care about the WC. They don't like to talk about it, but they ALL Know about it very well and they know how Canada does. I remember packed pubs and bars last time Canada made the finals in 09, and that was during daytime. 2008 was the biggest hype I've seen for WC in Canada. Come on, the number #1 hockey crazy country in the world doesn't care how their National team performs on a world stage?
Players care too, but they treat Hockey Canada and playing for the country like a business, to an extent ("is it good for my career?" comes before "is it good for my country"), the same way Hockey Canada treats them. Just look at the pressure they put on 18,19 year old kids to keep a tradition going. Hockey Canada is a brand with product (Crosby, Olympics). Russian National Hockey team is a social project and FHR doesn't make a profit, they make enough to cover SOME expenses. It's a fundamental cultural difference between the hockey nations.
Just to be clear, I don't think that Hockey Canada is better or worse, but I do think that each approach is appropriate for the country. But "not caring" is not the right way to describe it, because it's not quiet true.
Honestly, you'd just have to get TSN hyping it more regardless of where it's played.
It's like the U20s, nobody cared about it, then TSN realized it needed some Christmas programming, now its a huge deal in Canada...but not really anywhere else. The level of play in the WJHC is worse than the ECHL but people still tune in and love it - I do respect the intensity though. There's really not much reason why the U20s should be valued so much more than a U17 or U18 win.
The reality is, like most posters on this board, I am a huge hockey fan. I watch over 90 hockey games a year, often more than 130, and probably somewhere around 30 live (including mostly NHL, some AHL, and some WHL), yet I usually do not watch any games of the World Championship, even if Canada is playing in the finals (for that matter, I haven't been watch the WJHC for about three years now).
Just about everyone in the big 7 has great goalies and at least a few world class forwards. That's not enough.
It's obvious the IIHF puts exponentially more stock in their World Championship than anything else, which is played in May when alot of the best players are competing for a little something more important called the Stanley Cup.
When all the best players are on the ice I just don't see Finland on paper as being better than Canada, Russia, Sweden, or even the US.