BY BEAU WOODCOCK
The NHL’s decision to forbid its players from attending the Olympics was met with a lot of disdain from global hockey fans. However, the move will most likely end up working out better than initially thought, both for the NHL and for the Olympics.
At the end of one of the best hockey movies of all time, “Miracle,” Herb Brooks provides a moving epilogue that talks about the United States choosing to use professional athletes at the Games. He mentions the irony that teams like the 1980 men’s hockey team were the real dream teams that let the nation dream, instead of relying on professional superstars.
For the Olympics, the change back to amateur players will give America and other countries alike the thrill of seeing amateur athletes rise to glory on the Olympic stage, filling the audience with a new excitement for the Olympic hockey tournament. It also allows fans to see the future talent of the NHL.
The other side of the coin, is that the NHL will not be stuck in an awkward three-week break risking its players to injury from an outside event. Some will say things like this have rarely happened, but it did happen to a major player at the Sochi Olympics. Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg suffered a back injury at those Games, which led to the end of his tournament, as well as an additional eight weeks for recovery. This certainly cheapened the competition for the playoff chase, especially for a Red Wings team that at the time was clinging to a playoff spot by a mere point. Injuries like this happen often in the Olympics, which then unfairly cripples teams who happen to have this misfortune later in the season.
Put together, the move to remove NHL players from the Olympics will have a positive impact on the emotion of the Olympics, as well as the play of the NHL.
BY JACK SIMZYK
A few months ago, Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, announced that the league would not be sending their players to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This was announced after a league-wide vote from team owners showed that a majority of them did not want to send their players to the Olympics because they did not want the NHL season to be disrupted.
This year’s Olympic hockey teams will now be made up of veterans from other leagues and aspiring college players and prospects looking to make a name for themselves. Nevertheless, the absence of NHL players at the Olympics is still a bad move and here’s why.
First off, it’s a disappointment to the hockey fans all around the world that the Olympics will not feature players from the NHL.
It’s even more saddening to USA hockey fans because the USA would have had one of their best chances in years to win the gold with rising American stars Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel.
Not only was the decision a let-down to the fans, it was a tough pill for the NHL players to swallow, as well. The players had no say in the decision, as it was made exclusively by team owners and executives. Many players, such as Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane, have expressed that they love going to the Olympics and it being a huge honor for the them to be able to represent their country on the brightest international stage.
NHL players in Pyeongchang would have turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to expose the league and the game of hockey to new potential fans and sponsors, but Gary Bettman and the NHL decided that they did not want their lucrative TV deals to affect the amount of money the league would make.
Not having NHL players participate in the Olympics only benefits Gary Bettman and the other money-grabbing businessmen in the NHL. Otherwise, it is a huge disappointment for us, the fans and the players all over the world.