February 12th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 6
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Simply Selles by David Selles
 
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Anyone who isn’t a fan of hockey or sports can probably survive quite easily without reading this column but a topic came up that I want to discuss.

The last time the winter Olympics occurred in 2018, National Hockey League players didn’t take part.

It was the first time since 1994 that NHL players didn’t participate in the games.

NHL participation in the Olympics has always been a heated discussion between the owners of NHL teams and the players.

The main argument the owners make is that they lose money due to the NHL having to change their schedule because the winter Olympics take place in February when the regular season is taking place.

Another argument made by owners is that they give up a lot but don’t get much in return.

The owners feel that the exposure the NHL gets at the Olympics isn’t enough to offset the amount of money they can lose if players go.

The final thing that comes up all the time is what happens if a player gets injured while at the Olympics?
continued below ...
This argument has always driven me crazy.

To me, its actually less likely that players would get injured at the Olympics because the countries only take the most skilled players to play for them.

That means that other players who make their living in the NHL by fighting and being physical, won’t be at the Olympics.

International rules are also far stricter, which makes it very difficult for players to play a physical game and lowers the potential of player injuries.

As for the players, they’ve always wanted to attend because it gives them a chance to represent their countries on the biggest stage.

Victor Hedman, a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning, says that his hockey career began because he saw players playing for Sweden at the Olympics.

He wasn’t even aware of the NHL when he first began playing.

For me, it’s always a benefit for the players to showcase what the best of the best look like on the world’s biggest stage.
continued below ...
As a fan of hockey in general, it’s always best when I can watch the best players in the world compete against each other.

It just recently came out that the chances of fans seeing NHL players return to the Olympics in Beijing has increased.

During meetings last week between members of the league, the players association, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee, the league was told that the IOC would cover the costs of getting players to the games.

Another aspect is the league hasn’t been able to promote the fact that their players are playing in the Olympics and hasn’t been able to use video to promote the game of hockey.

That may also change, which means the NHL may be more willing to let their players go.

The final aspect of optimism is that over the last few years, the NHL has been playing games across Europe and China to help grow the game.

With the next Olympics taking place in Beijing, the NHL would look foolish to have played these games over the last number of years and then not have their players go when the entire world will be focused on Beijing.

It still isn’t guaranteed that the NHL will participate in the next Olympics but the signs are positive.
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February 12th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 6
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