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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

NHL players barred from Olympics

NHL passes ‘puck’ on Olympics

The NHL has said no thanks to having its players participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

In making this decision, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has shown his real motive: money. Ignoring fans’ cries and players’ wishes, Bettman said the matter of the players going is “closed.”

Call me un-Canadian, but the only hockey game I’ll watch is the gold medal Olympic game - if Canada is playing. But I understand the frustrations of true fans who want to watch the best face-off against the best. Hockey has been the biggest draw at the winter Olympics since NHL players first took part in 1998.

Following Bettman’s announcement this week, some NHL players voiced their frustrations and said they are going to go anyway.

It’s well known that Bettman wants his league to participate in the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing, China, for reasons that have to do with, you guessed it, money. You can’t pick and choose Games to participate in.

It’s hard to feel sorry for the rich commissioner and billionaire team owners who lose two weeks of play. Yes, players could be injured, but the reality of the game is that they could be injured at any time; the risk isn’t heightened at the Olympics.

If this decision is set in stone, then let’s throw our attention to Canada’s women’s hockey team, which has topped the podium the last four Olympics.

– Olivia


Olympics for amateurs, not pros

This week the NHL announced it would not allow its hockey players to participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics next year.

And the world is outraged. How could the NHL prevent the “best hockey players in the world” from becoming Olympians?

Let’s just take a step back.

Prior to the 1990s and a focus on high TV ratings, only amateur athletes competed on the world’s biggest athletic stage, becoming Olympians.

In fact, it was highly frowned upon for athletes to even have sponsorships, let alone be paid to play.

The Olympics were for amateurs, athletes who lived for the sport for the pure joy of it, not to make millions of dollars.

Yes, many of the best hockey players in the world play in the NHL, but a large majority are from just a handful of countries. Maybe now younger amateur players from all countries will showcase their talent on the international stage, proving their worth.

After all, many NHL players were great before they became pros, right? Maybe a new star will be born in a player that wasn’t in the right place, at the right time and didn’t make it to the NHL.

While viewership may dip at first, true sports fans will see the quality of talent even without recognizing the athletes’ names.

The NHL did the Olympics a favour, righting a wrong made decades ago.

If only other professional sport organizations would follow suit.  

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 14


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