The boys are coming back home from the Sochi Olympic games, after another historic and interesting hockey tournament, to continue the second half of the NHL regular season. The controversy of having NHL players involved in the future Olympic Winter Games continues and leaves the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a difficult spot. Both the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are now expected to make a joint decision on the future player participation in the Olympics within the next six months. The negotiations are to involve the NHL, NHLPA, the Olympic organizing committee in hosting 2018 games city of South Korea, the International Ice Hockey Federation, and the International Olympic Committee.
It is important for the players to establish a voice in this decision as well. Time is of the essence with this decision, yet the big wigs in the league and on the Olympic Committee know that they needed the players to be able to finish the most recent tournament and take as long as necessary to decide if they want to continue their Olympic participation. The conversations have already begun regarding this important decision.
The negative connotations surrounding the business aspects of sending players to the Olympics have been a heavy argument against future participation in the 2018 games. Things such as players’ insurance during the Olympic tournament, time zone differences, and NHL ticket sales and television ratings are all things that were discussed, and will be discussed throughout this decision-making process.
What about the fact that these players who play for their countries risk getting seriously injured during this “NHL Olympic break” while the rest of their teammates are back at home resting and training for the next half of the season? The Olympic participants are always big named players who are very valuable to their NHL team. There were plenty of valuable players who obtained Sochi injuries that will potentially cost their teams both financially and in terms of playing to their full potential. Also, what about the idea of just going back to having amateurs participate in the Olympic hockey tournaments? Wouldn’t you think that would be a great idea for the players and recruiters, and for the future development of the NHL?
So let’s hear it. What do you think about this decision? Yay for NHL to continue their involvement, or Nay if it is time for amateurs to shine and get a chance to represent their countries.