NHL Will Forgo 2018 Winter Olympics: The Miracle on Ice Situation Once Again

In American Olympic history there is no greater moment than the U.S. beating the U.S.S.R. in Lake Placid, New York in the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was such an upset because the U.S. did not send their best athletes and chose a bunch of college kids instead.

Unfortunately the Miracle on Ice is an outlier and the best hockey in the world is now played in the NHL. That is why the recent news that the NHL will not be sending any other of their players to the 2018 Olympics is both major and sad. Around the hockey community this has been viewed as a big blow to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

For the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this is one of many recent terrible news stories in recent years. For one, the IOC has had trouble finding countries to host the Winter Olympics, which is embarrassing considering the esteem that supposedly surrounds

hosting the Olympics.

Furthermore, stories out of Brazil before with the inadequate facilities and the resulting unused facilities after the Olympics ending were not good. This story is less serious, but for the competitiveness of the Olympics, it is a huge blow.

In recent years the battles between the US and Canada have been epic, as the great NHL players have really gone all out to produce fantastic international hockey. Therefore, the real losers of the fallout are the viewers, as they will be deprived of potentially classic games of hockey. So, this year’s Olympic hockey is going to be subpar, and the reasons why are a bit absurd.

The first reason why the NHL is not going to let their players play in the Winter Olympics is because the IOC was unwilling to give “top sponsor” treatment to the NHL. The IOC is well known for being very generous to their important sponsors. This request was not that ridiculous and given the power the NHL has, it should have been a no-brainer for the IOC. Sadly, the IOC did not consider the gravity of disrespecting the NHL.

The second reason is that the IOC would be giving nothing in return to the owners of these NHL teams, so there was no real reason to take the risk. As an owner, giving up your best players for three weeks in the middle of the season is bad enough. But the risk of injury is just too great and these are investments that are paid possibly tens of millions of dollars in the case of the best players in the world, like Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews.

The IOC needed to actually incentivize the NHL to give them their best players for a few weeks; instead, they disrespected them. In the end, the NHL

will be fine.

The NHL is significantly more popular than it was in the 1980’s, and the league will continue to grow as it garners the best talent from around the world and continues to put out great content onto the ice.

I expected nothing better from the IOC because they have been doing a terrible job. At this point everyone should expect the IOC to mess up. I just thought with one of their most important events coming up they would be more mindful in protecting their main event.