Hockey’s biggest league won’t let players become Olympians
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
The NHL has crippled Canada’s chance for a repeat gold in men’s hockey at the 2018 Olympics by refusing to allow their players to play in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The announcement came after years of hockey teams internally complaining about the disruption to the regular season, since the NHL and Olympic Games overlap. This was also after attempts and negotiations with the International Olympic Committee failed.
This means that players in the NHL will not be able to take time out of their contracts to participate, effectively barring entry for anyone currently in the league. As of now, most players seem to oppose the decision, but there seems to be little they can do about it. However, Russian legend Alexander Ovechkin has publically said that he will be going to Pyeongchang to play for his country, with or without the league’s consent.
Speaking of which, the league had been considering terminating their dealings with the IOC for some years now, as costs to the NHL began to vastly outweigh the benefits. NHL sources have indicated that the move away was specifically triggered this year to focus on the growing league, as the Las Vegas Golden Knights and a host of new players will be entering the league next year. Though the decision is unpopular with fans, players, and the media, the NHL considered the case “closed” and has committed to focusing on next years’ playoffs instead.