NHLPA: Olympic decision shortsighted, players don’t take it lightly

Posted: 03/04/2017 in NHL, Sports
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The NHLPA fired back at the NHL after the league revealed its decision to officially forgo the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.

“The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL’s shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics,” the league’s players union said in a statement Monday night.

“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.”

The union emphasized the unprecedented chance the league has with the next two Winter Olympic Games taking place in South Korea and China, respectively.

“A unique opportunity lies ahead with the 2018 and 2022 Olympics in Asia,” the NHLPA said. “The NHL may believe it is penalizing the IOC or the players, or both, for not giving the owners some meaningful concessions in order to induce them to agree to go to Pyeongchang. Instead, this impedes the growth of our great game by walking away from an opportunity to reach sports fans worldwide.”

The NHLPA also wondered how the league could make the decision after one of the biggest hurdles in the negotiations had apparently been cleared.

“Moreover, it is doing so after the financial issues relating to insurance and transportation have been resolved with the IOC and IIHF. The league’s efforts to blame others for its decision is as unfortunate as the decision itself.”

Finally, the union closed by stressing how important this is to the players.

“NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters. This is the NHL’s decision, and its alone. It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans.”

Several NHLers said in the past that they plan to go to the 2018 Games regardless of the league’s decision. On Monday, the NHL reportedly told teams not to discuss individual participation with their players and that the league will rule on the matter in the future.


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