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2018 Olympic Logo
By Torben Rolfsen - Vancouver.24hrs.ca

April 27, 2016

Late last week, the hockey-powers-that-be interrupted the fabulous first round of the NHL playoffs with the latest warning to fans not to expect their other favourite tournament — the Olympics — to continue in its present form.

What’s the problem now? Allegedly, it’s because neither the IOC nor the NHL will pay for travel and insurance for players to participate in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The “prognosis (is) not really good,” International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel told the web site insidethegames.biz.

The IOC (with IIHF) covered the costs for the five Olympics that have featured NHL players beginning in 1998 — and which resulted in memorable gold medals for Team Canada in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

Now the IOC is reportedly concerned other sports will seek the same financial help. (Yes, just wait until the biathlete union finds out about this.)

Alex Ovechkin — for his part — says the players will be going, even if their accommodation is not taken care of. (Hello, Airbnb!)

The 1972 Summit Series hardwired best-on-best international hockey tournaments into Canadians’ genetic code. The 1987 Canada Cup and 2010 Vancouver Olympics continued the obsessive love affair for subsequent generations.

Without the Olympics, what are we left with?

The annual Junior World Championship: excellent entertainment to be sure, but not exactly filled with household names Canadians see on their hockey highlights every night.

The IIHF World Championship, played somewhere in Europe (Russia, this year) in the middle of the NHL playoffs. No one watches these except the families of Edmonton Oilers players, who are curious to see what their relatives are up to in the month of May.

The bizarre yearly spectacle of the Spengler Cup, which sees “Canada” playing semi-obscure club teams from central Europe and features officials dressed like refugees from Chick-fil-A commercials.

The major cons for the NHL are having to shut down its season for two to three weeks in February, and the ever-looming threat of injuries. But, as usual, it’s all about the short-term bottom line for Gary Bettman.

The shortfall is estimated to be as low as $10 million for 2018. Here’s an idea — raise the money through sponsorships on the boards or even a small patch on the jerseys. Oh, wait, that would go against the purity and sanctity of the Olympics.

Still, even without physical on-site advertising, that seems like a pretty small amount to pay to become known as “the company that saved Olympic hockey.”

Unless that figure is just a convenient excuse for a commissioner and owners who don’t want the loss of control — and money — from letting their players go to an event other than this year’s World Cup.

In that case, the losers in this struggle will be the fans. Meanwhile, the Olympics can keep its rinks ad-free and keep partying like it’s 1899.


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Growing up in Canada I was a huge hockey fan, but it wasn't until the 1972 summit series and the 1976 Canada Cup that I became a big fan of international hockey. The best players in world all playing on a sheet of ice. 
over the years Ice Hockey as grown and is still growing all over the world. On this website you find Video Hi-lites of International Games, Ice hockey News, National Team Records, All Time Results, Scores, Schedule to upcoming games and all International Tournaments from around the world.
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