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Sochi May Be The Last Olympics For NHL Players

from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,

Not half a day into the beginning of an orientation camp for NHLers hoping to play for Canada, and whispering this latest era of NHL participation is near an end was growing louder.

"They won't be going to Korea," was a common refrain among media in Calgary for Hockey Canada's orientation camp, featuring 47 Canadian-born NHLers, along with a management team and coaching group largely culled from NHL staffs.

Team Canada simply chose to not go on the ice rather than fork over the cash to insure a few light skates. That doesn't bode well for future NHL participation.

The International Olympic Committee will pay in the neighbourhood of $8 million to insure NHLers playing in Sochi, a price tag that was a major sticking point in negotiations.

The NHL wants to revive the World Cup, playing every second year, and the ever-increasing cost of insurance will be a convenient excuse if and when the league makes its move to bow out of the Olympics.

Control over broadcast schedules, revenue, game sites and costs make the World Cup concept far more attractive to the NHL and its owners. Playing late in the summer and not interrupting the NHL season is also a benefit to the league.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Red Winger's avatar

Not half a day into the beginning of an orientation camp for NHLers hoping to play for Canada, and whispering this latest era of NHL participation is near an end was growing louder.


Yes, there is an amazing array of talent in one place when the NHL participates in the Olympics. But, there was something more pure about having amateurs participate.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 08/26/13 at 07:28 AM ET


I don’t care so much about amateurs in the olympics, mostly because the USA is the only country that really cares about that and it makes for a meaninglessly skewed competition, but I’d be thrilled if hockey wasn’t in the olympics any more.

IMO, the World Cups were better demonstrations of that level of hockey, mostly because the event itself was designed to be a hockey tournament and didn’t have to weave in with a hundred other events.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/26/13 at 09:12 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I hope they are done going.

Mainly because I’m sick of hearing about all the stupid #*&@$ surrounding it anymore.  All the dumb drama, the “will they or won’t they”, the spazzing over “camps” where players can’t even skate for insurance reasons, etc…

And honestly, I’m tired of it being smack in the middle of the season.  I don’t want players on my team going, and I hate that my team’s staff is involved too.

Stanley Cup > Everything Else.

Posted by Primis on 08/26/13 at 09:12 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t think there’s going to be much public resistance to NHLers skipping out on Korea. It’ll be even worse time-difference wise and there’s no built-in drama with the “home” team playing for their pride in such a large-stakes manner.

The players might care, but I think they’re aware that they probably traded the idea of future Olympic participation for the ability to compete in Sochi.

As a meaningless tangent, if they do go to a world cup during the summer in which NHLers participate, I would prefer if the “Triple Gold” designation would simply substitute a World Cup victory for an Olympic one as far as who qualifies.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/26/13 at 09:14 AM ET


Had to join Kuklas Korner just to make this post. Looked at all the Team Canada clean cut players in the article and saw Thorton’s picture, he looked like one of those pictures of meth users. That was the best picture they could find of him?

I prefer NHL players don’t play in Olympics because a compressed schedule means tired players and injured players for NHL games. It is a lower quality of game during a compressed season.

Posted by Puckbubba on 08/26/13 at 10:26 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

If I wanted to watch amateurs play in a world tournament, I’d watch the IIHF Juniors, and I often do.  But, I really don’t get the “amateur” argument as it relates to the Olympics.  Aren’t the Olympics supposed to be the best of the best from each country competing for the gold?  Who wants to watch a bunch of bush leaguers in the Olympics?  I don’t. 

Moreover, do we really want to invite a “Soviet professionals vs the world’s amateur squads” situation back into the tournament?  All it takes is for another country to send it’s pros and the integrity of the tournament is down the drain. 

Obviously there’s room to differ on this topic, but the Olympics are better with the pros IMO.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/26/13 at 12:45 PM ET


I am not a big proponent of FIFA or the IOC, but it seems like the soccer model works out pretty well. Olympic hockey should folow that model with plenty of rules about over and under age players so that the impact to the NHL would be minimal. That keeps the World Cup the most important tournament for the sport and allows the next generation get a shot at the international stage when someone is actually watching.


Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/26/13 at 02:05 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Control over broadcast schedules, revenue, game sites and costs make the World Cup concept far more attractive to the NHL and its owners.

No mention of the players in there. I think ask any player and they’d rather play on the largest stage possible when playing for their country. I think if the KHL for example has an open participation policy for the Olympics they will snag some more players from the NHL who want to participate in them.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 08/26/13 at 04:30 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/26/13 at 03:05 PM ET

I like soccer’s model also but they only do that for the men’s side, which is all we’re talking about here anyways. I think they roster 20 and are allowed 3 or 4 over 23 players. I don’t know what the appropriate age would be for hockey.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 08/27/13 at 09:00 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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