No Olympics for NHL Players

Anthony Faber, Staff Writer

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has decided to not allow NHL players to compete in the Olympics. Gary Bettman has recently stated on, “We have previously made clear that while the overwhelming majority of our clubs are adamantly opposed to disrupting the 2017-18 NHL season for purposes of accommodating Olympic participation by some NHL players, we were open to hearing from any of the other parties who might have an interest in the issue (e.g., the IOC, the IIHF, the NHLPA, etc.) as to reasons the Board of Governors might be interested in re-evaluating their strongly held views on the subject.” While Bettman remained open to having a dialogue, it is clear that many NHL teams are opposed to the idea of allowing their players to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

One reason why NHL clubs are not allowing their players to compete is there is a great chance of injury. For example, in 2014 Islanders superstar John Tavares went down when playing for team Canada, ultimately ending New York’s chances to contend. Commissioner Bettman said at a meeting in December: “Having a compressed schedule can make the players more tired, more wear and tear, and the potential for injury is greater.” The Detroit Red Wings led the NHL in players sent to the games with ten, and this contributed to a first round exit in the NHL playoffs. The Wings lost their star Henrik Zetterberg during the 2014 winter games.  NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has expressed the club’s frustrations during the 2017 All Star break: “I think the realities of Olympic participation are more apparent to our board now and I think it just leads to less enthusiasm about the disruption.” They recently conducted a poll in Canada and the USA for fans to vote on whether the players should compete in the olympic games, and the results were telling: 73% were not in favor in the USA and 53% were not in favor in Canada.

Due to the fact that the NHL does not want players competing in the 2018 Olympics, none of of the players will make the trip to Pyeongchang to compete for their countries.