No NHL Players for 2018 Winter Olympics, But Why?
Hockey is no doubt one of the biggest sports in the world, along with basketball and football. And it’s the reason why they’re included in the Olympics. However this time, that fact seems to be an exemption.
The NHL is known to give way to the Winter Olympics since it became an Olympic sport in 1998. It stops its games for their players to compete in the global arena.
But things will be different this time around as the 2018 Winter Olympics wouldn’t include NHL players. Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, says that the league wouldn’t take a break for its players to participate in the international competition.
He says it in a very firm way, reiterating that the case is even closed for good.
No Olympics for NHL Players
Every player who is under NHL contract wouldn’t be allowed to join the 2018 Winter Olympics, which is to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In knowing that the NHL is one of the finest (if not the finest) hockey leagues, this means that the best players wouldn’t be able to compete in the biggest sporting event in four years.
Reports have it that even minors players are also unable to participate in the games. This would be the league’s first time in more than a decade not to stop its season to give way for the Winter Olympics.
The last time they did was way back in 1994. Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the NHL, says that the decision is already final.
And that all NHL players who are under active contract will be experiencing the same fate. The players who’ve made two-way NHL contracts, even those that are under minor league loans are included in the current ruling.
The only ones allowed are those players under AHL contracts.
The NHL’s season schedule is the one to blame. Over the past three Winter Olympic years – 2006, 2010, and 2014, the league didn’t showcase any All Star Game. This was to give way for players to take part in the Olympics.
But it came as a surprise when NHL unveiled its 2017-18 regular season schedule last June. The schedule shows no signs of Olympics break as the 2018 All-Star Game is scheduled on Jan. 28, 2018, which is two weeks before the Feb. 9 Winter Olympic Games.
It would then be highly unlikely for the NHL to mess up its already well-coordinated plan once again.
Players’ Reactions Towards ‘Missed Opportunity’
Of course, this surprising NHL ruling would come out as a big surprise not only to the league but to the public as well. Thousands of NHL fans are already showing immense disappointment in social media, saying that U.S. and Canada’s chances of getting medals would decrease.
Some of the biggest names in the NHL, including Carey Price, Connor McDavid, Henrik Lundqvist, and Jonathan Toews, support the people’s plight in disagreeing with NHL’s “illogical” decision. The decision’s announcement was made last April.
And as soon as the word came out, the NHLPA immediately shared their sentiments saying that the league’s decision is “shortsighted.” The player’s association went on to say that the decision was only made by the NHL’s management, disregarding the opinions and desires of its players and loyal hockey fans.
They went on to say that it was a very unfortunate decision they are forced to succumb to.
Future of Olympic Hockey Betting
Due to the apparent absence of NHL players from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, there is no doubt that Canada and the U.S.’s chances of winning medals decrease, and the current betting odds support the daily NHL expert picks not be at the top anymore.
To prove this, Russia just gained the favorite spot as it gets 2.85 odds, overtaking Canada’s 3.65. Sweden takes the third spot with 4.25, followed by the Czech Republic’s 9.25.
Finland goes next with its 7.75, while the once-favorite USA is now down to the 6th spot with 11.5. Slovakia and South Korea are at the bottom of the list with 98 and 728 betting odds.
If the NHL changes this decision, and the league’s top players will be able to join their national teams for the 2018 winter games in South Korea, we are bound to see all these odds changing. Now may be a good time to put a bet on the US or Canada on low odds, and cash in if professional players show up.