Well after the NHL’s decision last week to not send its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea has to make one sports fan wonder how absolutely selfish that Gary Bettman and company really is.
To prevent the best players to play on the biggest international sporting stage is gutless. Some NHL fans say that if they were the players in this situation, they would be ashamed, disappointed and little bit embarrassed all in the same breath.
This brings up the point of where the NHL has dedicated its focus. The NHL has always said that they want to ‘grow the game,’ but isn’t the Olympics a way of giving the game of hockey exposure. Most people would think so.
There is nothing better then the world’s best players competing against one another for a gold medal. However, the league figures it would be more appropriate to play two exhibition games in China next season and give the game a positive image through a different light. The excitement can only last so long in a non- traditional international hockey market.
The Olympic years have a passionate build-up leading up to the games, a lot of memories during and the topic of conversation for days and weeks after the tournament.
Now the talk will be how unsuccessful the games might be without the NHL players. The scenarios the countries have now become an interesting mess because where does Canada or the USA draw from, possibly the Spengler Cup rosters or the minor leagues? Who knows? And time will tell. This is not right to take the NHL players right away to attend their sixth straight since professionals started going in 1998 at the Nagano Games. Hockey fans won’t get up at 2 a.m. to watch figure skating and from a fan’s perspective, may just boycott the event altogether.