NHL

Let's Go Back To Using Amateur Hockey Players in the Olympics

1/23/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Jan 1, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is introduced as a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team after the 2014 Winter Classic hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsSince the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, NHLers have been participating in one of the world's most intriguing sporting competitions.

The outcome has been some great games, players stepping up when they need to, interesting storylines and even some parity. It has also been a great promotional tool for the NHL and one that has helped the league in a variety ways.

With that said, the Olympics, for the most part, have always been about amateur competition. Athletes that participated in the games were not part of professional leagues and participated because it is an honor to serve and play for your country.

There are several reasons why when the next Winter Olympic games come around, hockey should use the best amateur players rather than take players from the NHL.

For starters, it will make things more exciting. When watching the World Junior Championships, it is easy to see that the players, all of who are under 20 years of age, play for nothing but pride for their country along with the hopes of achieving their goal of winning the Gold Medal.

Let's go back to 1980 when Team USA stunned the world and won the Gold Medal in hockey at Lake Placid. The team consisted of players from competing colleges and even though there were lots of rivals on the team, they all came together and played like the best team in the world.

This is something that is not seen anymore. NHLers are considered the best hockey players in the world so when they come together to win a medal at the Winter Olympic Games, it is not a surprise.

Secondly, using amateur hockey players would be much better for the NHL season. Both prior to and after the Olympics, NHL teams are extremely busy with the amount of games that need to played in the regular season due to the two-week break.

By not participating in the Olympics, NHLers would have somewhat of a more regular schedule and would not have to focus on playing for two teams. There is no doubt that for some players, the Olympics are a big thing on their minds and is something that might even be considered more important than what they do for their NHL team.

Lastly, let the best amateur players in the world get their chance to shine. As a whole, NHLers get all kinds of terrific opportunities to do things that many are not able to do, including playing in the Olympics.

It's time for hockey's best amateurs to compete on the national stage and may be one day, they will get a chance to play in the Winter Olympics like other amateurs before them.
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1/25/14   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Chalk up another vote in favor the the NHL stop sending players to the Olympics.  And a return to amateurs for all Olympic games.  I do not think suspending the season to allow their players to play has been all that great a move for the NHL.  The Winter Classic has done far more for the game than any Olympic tournament with members of the NHLPA.  I was truly hoping NONE of my favorite team's players would be selected to any national team.  I'd rather they take the time off without traveling around the world to run the risk of injury playing in some worthless tournament. 
If you want to see the best professionals play in a tournament, there is always the World Championships held on an annual basis and if that isn't enough they could always make the World Cup of Hockey (formerly the Canada Cup) a more regular thing. 

 

1/25/14   |   The_Real_Stoney   |   25434 respect

I wouldn't be upset if this was the last year NHL players were part of the olympic teams.
That being said, you're not going to find a more entertaining or exciting tournament than having the absolute best players in the world playing on the bigger international ice surface. It's not an exhibition like the All Star game, and to think that there isn't the same amount of national pride among pro players as there would be among amateurs couldn't be more false. 
But having a 3 week break in the NHL season with only a small portion of players playing in meaningful games isn't good for the league and there has to be some trepidation among management of teams with several players involved and the risk of possible injury

1/24/14   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

richard_cranium wrote:
Not that America stands a great chance to medal with NHLer's, but they stand no chance with amateurs.

But the Olympics isn't about whether or not the US can medal.  It's about the best in the world in all sports competing to see who is the best in their amateur sports.  Besides, I don't want the US to win!!

GO CANADA!!!!!  cheeky

1/24/14   |   richard_cranium   |   17679 respect

Not that America stands a great chance to medal with NHLer's, but they stand no chance with amateurs.

1/24/14   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

I, too, have been saying for years that the professional players in tennis, hockey, basketball, and any other Olympic sport need to back off.  The Olympics should be for the amateurs, and no professionals should be allowed.  

Yes, the Olympics are fun, exciting and wonderful for all countries to cheer on their own, but we should be cheering for those that are not paid to excel.  I've never agreed with professionals in any sport and NHL is no exception.

1/24/14   |   scquwi1   |   1231 respect

(Edited by scquwi1)

I have been saying this since 1998, we can see the best in the NHL play in the all star game, and leave the Olympics to the amateurs.