Olympic hockey is a big draw, and it is only helped by the presence of NHL players, but it seems that the NHL may not agree. Earlier this week TMMOTS had a post about NHL players not going to the Olympics in 2018. Now it is being reported that the IIHF is going to make a push to make sure that doesn’t happen.
NHL.com has reported that International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel will do to convince the NHL and the players to play in South Korea in 2018. In that report Fasel admits it will completely be up to the league and its players if they attend or not. It would be a big blow to Olympic hockey, but I am in favor of the NHL players staying home.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled to arrive in Russia next week to witness what might be the last Olympics with NHL players.
I understand both side of this problem. The NHL and its owners have a lot of money tied up in the players. They don’t like seeing their assets risk further injury or new injury to play in a two-week tournament. But, for the players it’s about pride, and competing for their country. For the players next to a Stanley Cup the highest honor would be wearing a medal around their neck at the end of the Olympic Games.
There has been talk about moving Ice Hockey to the Summer Olympics as not to disrupt the NHL schedule. That would allow for players to take part, and if injured at least it wouldn’t be in the middle of a Playoff run. But, that’s not going to happen. NHL.com had this.
Fasel says there’s no chance hockey could be moved to the Summer Games — to avoid interrupting NHL seasons — and he’s not in favour of a World Cup of Hockey replacing best-on-best hockey at the Olympics.
As we have said before there will always be players that want to play in the Olympics, maybe it’s time to let the amateurs have a shot at glory.