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NHL Making Huge Mistake by Skipping 2018 Olympics

United States vs Finland, men's bronze medal game, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Martin Rose/Getty Images

If you’re like me, there’s no better hockey than Stanley Cup Playoff and Olympic hockey. But, thanks to a recent NHL decision, one of those beloved hockey competitions is quickly deteriorating in quality.

The NHL announced on Monday that no Olympic break will be built into the 2017-18 NHL regular season schedule, which means NHL players will be with their respective squads and unavailable for Olympic competition, according to ESPN.

ESPN also shared that the International Olympic Committee told the NHL if it chose to prevent its athletes from participating in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, then there’s no guarantee NHL athletes will be allowed to compete in 2022.

Skipping out on the 2018 Olympics might cost NHL athletes the chance at participating in 2022.

The NHLPA released a statement on its website Monday after the NHL rendered its decision to forgo Olympic competition: “The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL’s shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics. Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season’s schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage.”

NHL players aren’t happy, NHL fans aren’t happy and hockey lovers across the globe aren’t happy. Athletes from around the world make their living playing in the NHL, and now that living will prevent them from participating in one of the world’s most prestigious competitions.

Sounds eerily similar to the old NBA-Olympic basketball rules before the Dream Team showed us how to enjoy Olympic basketball.

While the NHLPA statement likely doesn’t speak for every NHL player, the majority of NHL athletes seem to enjoy Olympic competition and donning their nation’s colors. Just from watching world hockey competitions, you get a strong sense of the patriotic pride that comes with representing your country. That sense only fortifies itself during Olympic competition.

I understand the difficulty and nuisance that comes with scheduling an Olympic break every four years, and I can see how the NHL would be sick of the Olympics regularly dictating their season.

But based on the amount of participation by NHL players and the quality of Olympic hockey, such a task is crucial for hockey’s health and growth on the national level, especially with the 2022 Olympics in Asia.

And, frankly, you’d be hard-pressed to find better hockey than Olympic hockey.

Source: ESPN

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