The National Hockey League has decided not to allow their players to play in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Also, the Kontinental Hockey League has decided to pull their players from the Olympics. Respectfully, these two hockey leagues are the best two leagues in the world. In result of the NHL not participating in the Olympics, it limits the star power that each team can hold. With players like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Steven Stamkos, Carey Price, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg, and Henrik Lundqvist not on rosters, it limits the worldwide appeal of the game of hockey, and it takes away the feeling of representing their country in the Olympics away from the players.
Reasons For the NHL Pulling Out
One main reason the NHL used for pulling out of the Olympics was that they paid for travel, insurance, and accommodation for every player going to the Olympics. The NHL said in result they would be able to save 20 Million dollars. Also in the NHL’s defense, it is a hassle for the NHL to balance a week off in January for their All-Star Game, and TWO weeks off in February for an Olympic break. There is also the risk of a player getting hurt which is almost inevitable. With all the star power that would be put on display in the Olympics with NHL players, pick your poison, if just one NHL player was hurt that could dash their NHL team’s dreams of winning the Stanley Cup. In the players’ point of view they would rather take their chances and represent their country on the big stage every 4th year, but that can be too much to ask of the NHL owners. Because like with any other pro sports league it’s a business, and unfortunately the Winter Olympics falls right in the middle of the NHL season.
So What Country Has the Best Chance to Win
It’s anybody’s tournament to win. One could say that because the NHL isn’t participating it hinders the quality of Canada’s and USA’s teams. But it also affects the other countries as well. The last time USA won gold in the Olympics for ice hockey was back when they had the miracle team. They took out the powerhouse Soviets with a team of high-level college hockey players, similar to what our team will be composed of this year, and completed the Miracle on Ice. The U.S. and Canada foster many great young hockey players who ultimately should keep them in the running for this year’s gold. Canada is still expected to win the tournament, and a sleeper that should perform well is Finland.