NHL Participation at Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games In Doubt

NHL Participation at Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games In Doubt&h=235&w=320&zc=1

During the days when the Soviet Union ruled the sports world it was a thinly veiled secret that they used what were for all intents and purposes professional athletes. At one point, the amateur athletes from the US and Canada were able to hold their own. In 1995, however, the two hockey powers of North America decided they were sick of being the only one not skirting the rules and worked out a deal for NHL players to represent their countries at the 1998 Olympics in Nagoya. The NHL players have participated in every Olympic games since.

That could change in 2018 when the Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang. The International Olympic Committee has always had an anti-North America bias and they clearly want to give some of their favorite countries a shot at the hockey medals. For that reason, they’re trying to throw whatever monkey wrench they can into the works. The latest fiasco–the International Olympic Committee has said that they will not to cover the NHL’s expenses for involvement at the Games including transportation, insurance and accommodation. That’s a change in policy as the IOC has covered these expenses–some $20 million US–for all Olympic Games NHL players have participated in since Nagano in 1998.

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasell is very pessimistic about an agreement: “The IOC took the decision not to pay transportation and insurance costs for NHL and NHL players to come to the next Olympic Games. We had a meeting with the NHL last week and the prognosis is not really good. Our wish is to have the best players. [But the IOC] not covering the cost as they did at the last five Olympic Games puts us in a difficult financial situation. We still have challenges – it is even more difficult than before.”

The ‘party line’ of the IOC is that other organizations will seek similar support, like there’s a high level professional hockey league that no one has heard of up to now. Fasell was diplomatic but isn’t buying it: “We are the only winter team sport. The NHL has to shut down the league for nearly three weeks which is huge in February. There is also a risk of injuries. The good point is that the players want to come, they want to be part of the Olympics, so we are trying to find solutions. It’s not easy.”

It could be a situation where Junior players will represent their various countries. That would keep the competition at a high level but still not as good as the NHL players.

Related Posts