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