NHL Players in Olympics Spark Controversy

Posted on March 25, 2014 by

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Are the 2014 winter Olympic games the last time we will see NHL players in the Olympics? Players from the NHL (National Hockey League) have been allowed in the Olympics since 1998, but 2014 may be the last year we will see them in the Olympic Games. Owners of NHL teams have been raising issues regarding their players getting injured in these games, and they may not allow these players to play in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.

Besides the fact that NHL players must cram their game schedules to fit the Olympic schedule, there are many other reasons why NHL players may not participate in the Olympics.

One of the main reasons is the risk of injury. John Tavares, captain for the New York Islanders, tore his MCL while playing for team Canada, ending his NHL season. Also, Henrik Zetterberg suffered a herniated disk, which required surgery and two months of recovery. These injuries encouraged many owners to ban players from playing in the Olympics.

Many of the NHL players, including Zach Parise, the United States captain and Minnesota Wild player, support playing in the Olympics. These players love playing and supporting their country in the Olympics. The ten-day break also comes as a welcome relief to the NHL players not playing in the Olympics.

However, NHL owners may choose money over their country. These owners use the NHL to get billions of dollars. Events such as the outdoor NHL games in the winter are just a few ways that these owners use this league strictly for financial reasons and not for the prospects of their country potentially winning the Olympics.

If the NHL players are taken out of the Olympics, these owners do not have to worry about star players becoming injured. Star players often carry huge fan-bases, which means more people coming to games and more money being made. If these star players would happen to get injured in an Olympic game, that could potentially ruin their NHL career, which concerns some of the NHL owners.

Instead of the Olympics, many NHL officials were considering starting up the World Cup of Hockey again. This world cup has not been played since 2004, but it may return as an alternative to the Olympics. These games may be played in the summer of 2016, so the NHL schedule will not be affected. The NHL would be able to control these games, maintain all injuries, and also get all of the funds from the games. Officials think this may be the ultimate idea, but the final decision should be made within the next six months.

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