Why Did the NHL Pull out of the Olympics?

What to expect from countries without their star players from the NHL

NHL+players+Patrick+Kane+and+Tukka+Rask+in+the+2014+Bronze+medal+game.
NHL players Patrick Kane and Tukka Rask in the 2014 Bronze medal game.

NHL players Patrick Kane and Tukka Rask in the 2014 Bronze medal game.

(Harry E. Walker/MCT)

(Harry E. Walker/MCT)

NHL players Patrick Kane and Tukka Rask in the 2014 Bronze medal game.

Noah Bieniek, Senior Writer

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The National Hockey League has decided to not allow their players to play in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. In addition the Kontinental Hockey League has decided to pull their players from the Olympics also. Respectfully, these two hockey leagues are the best two leagues in the world. In result of the NHL not participating in the Olympics, it limits the star power that each team can hold. With players like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Steven Stamkos, Carey Price, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg, and Henrik Lundqvist not on rosters, it limits the worldwide appeal of the game of hockey, and it takes away the feeling of representing their country in the olympics away from the players.

 

“I’m mad about it,” junior student at HF2 and travel hockey player for the Rochester Rattlers Aiden Dion said. “I like the Winter Olympics and not being able to watch the top players in the world compete for their country once every four years just isn’t right.”

 

Reasons For the NHL Pulling Out

One main reason the NHL used for pulling out of the olympics was that they paid for travel, insurance, and accomodation for every player going to the Olympics. The NHL said in result they would be able to save $20 Million dollars. Also in the NHL’s defense it is a hassle for the NHL to balance a week off in January for their All Star Game, and TWO weeks off in February for an Olympic break. There is also the risk of a player getting hurt which is almost inevitable. With all the star power that would be put on display in the Olympics with NHL players, pick your poison, if just one NHL player was hurt that could dash their NHL team’s dreams of winning the Stanley Cup. In the players’ point of view they would rather take their chances and represent their country on the big stage every 4th year, but that can be too much to ask of the NHL owners. Because like with any other pro sports league it’s a business, and unfortunately the Winter Olympics falls right in the middle of the NHL season.

 

“It’s a shame that NHL can’t realize what they’re doing. They are ruining players dreams of representing their country in the sport they love,” said Jason Remley who plays hockey for the local travel team Macomb Mavericks. “I think they can make the exception for players to play on the world’s biggest stage for the sport once every 4 years.”

 

So What Country Has the Best Chance to Win

 

It’s anybody’s tournament to win. One could say that because the NHL isn’t participating it hinders the quality of Canada’s and USA’s teams. But it also affects the other countries as well. The last time USA won gold in the olympics for ice hockey was back when they had the miracle team. They took out the powerhouse soviets with a team of high level college hockey players, similar to what our team will be composed of this year, and completed the Miracle on Ice. The U.S. and Canada foster many great young hockey players which ultimately should keep them in the running for this year’s gold. Canada is still expected to win the tournament, and the sleeper country to watch out for is Finland.

 

“If Russia has Pavel Datsyuk on their team they have a clear advantage. They will have the best player on the ice at all times. He’s just a playmaker. Some of the plays he creates just seem impossible to pull off,” Dion said.

 

“I think USA will be able to perform well,” Remley said, “They have a really nice crop of young players and I think they have a chance to win the gold.”

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