It’s that time of year again! The time where everyone breaks out the jackets, beanies, mittens and game faces. Yes, the 2018 Winter Olympics are here. Time to see our favorite events of skiing, bobsledding, figure skating and, of course, hockey. The time where players get to represent their country and go for the gold. The time to make dreams come true for all competitors, all except for the NHL players, that is.
For the past few months, NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman has made it overly clear that the NHL will not be participating in this years’ 2018 Winter Olympics that are taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea. He stated in an interview that the league will focus on “finalizing our 2017-18 regular season schedule without any break to accommodate the Olympic Winter Games. We now consider the matter officially closed.” With that being said it appears that the chances for NHLer’s to play in the 2018 Olympics are officially gone.
One of the biggest reasons in making this decision was a 17-day break the season would have to take. Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daley, stated that the NHL doesn’t “see what the benefit is from the game standpoint or the League standpoint with respect to Olympic participation.”
Another reason for the “no-go” to the Olympics was to make sure players don’t get hurt during the Olympics.
Even famous NHL announcer Don Cherry stated that no body would even want to “watch hockey at 3:00 AM.”
The players and fans are devastated with this news having become a reality. Dallas Stars centerman, Tyler Seguin spoke up about the issue recently how “it’s heartbreaking” and how for him it was going to be a dream come true to “represent your country.”
Superstar young-gun center, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, stated that all of the “young guys that are trying to make their mark on hockey, and they may not be able to get their chance to on the international stage,” he said. McDavid along with all players is very upset.
A more commonly known player around the League, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, had something else to say about the matter. At first he was “hoping he’ll be allowed to participate” and that there is still a chance for it all. Now he has transitioned to a different attitude towards the whole situation. “Somebody going to tell me, ‘don’t go’, I don’t care. I just go,” the Russian forward said. Even Capitals owner, Ted Leonsis responded to Alex’s quote saying, “I’ve got to have my captain’s back, and I will.”
So it appears that the Great 8 (Ovechkin) is going regardless of what the NHL Commissioners say. Will others follow in his foot steps?
Some players expressed their displeasure in the decision through social media. Brandon Prust, a 9-year veteran left winger, took an aggressive approach by tweeting, “Way to ruin the sport of hockey even more Gary.”
Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks said that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the NHL were heading towards another lockout. Could another lockout emerge from this issue that all players share?
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