A week before the regular season ended, Gary Bettman conveniently dropped the bomb that the case to have the NHL participate in the 2018 South Korean Olympics is considered closed. As expected, people and players voiced their complaints and thoughts for a week or so, and then the playoffs began and everyone forgot what the Olympics were all together. Well I’m here to remind you that this topic of conversation is still alive, and that there’s still a chance we’ll be seeing Connor McDavid in a Team Canada jersey next Winter.
Yes, Gary Bettman considers this case to be closed, and claims that the conversation is dead. However, we should note that there are still people lobbying and working towards getting the NHL through the Olympic doors, and it might still pay off. Rene Fasel, President of the IIHF, still has his hopes set high that the league will agree to come to South Korea and he continues to push his support for the cause. Whether it’s true or not, he told the media that he’s still working to convince Bettman into allowing the players to come to South Korea, and that there’s still time to do so. Fasel claims that the NHL has until approximately mid-July to make their final decision. Plenty of time if you ask me.
It’s important to remember that the reason we’re in this whole mess is because the IOC refused to continue paying for the players’ insurance, travel, and hospitality costs during their stay at the Olympics. Bettman’s ego must have taken a huge hit for this and he convinced the rest of the NHL owners that going to the Olympics was a bad idea. The owners obliged, and here we are. But wait! Rene Fasel and the IIHF stepped in and agreed to contribute towards the players’ expenditures. This sounds like a pretty easy choice for me to make if I were the commissioner of the NHL. Except that in exchange for the funding, the IIHF also wants sponsorship rights and other various marketing needs handled. So what? We put their logo on some things, and they pay for us to go to South Korea, easy peasy! Not for Bettman, apparently.
Elliotte Friedman made a good point in his 30 Thoughts this past week and mentioned that there hasn’t been a release of a date or location for next year’s All-Star game. There have been rumblings about where it will be, but nothing has been officially set. Could they be holding out because there is still hope for the Olympics? Or could it merely be a coincidence and the game will be released along with the rest of the NHL schedule this summer?
Either way, we shouldn’t forget that this is still an issue and that there are people still working towards bringing the NHL to the Olympics. I’ve heard a few theories in the media that if enough owners are convinced by the players that they should go, then Bettman will need to oblige as his job is to please them. Maybe we just need Sid The Kid to sit down with Mario Lemieux and express his concerns. Or, maybe if we tweet about it enough, Bettman will listen? Maybe some roadside billboards are what we need?
You tell me. Do you think the decision is ACTUALLY as final as Bettman says it is? Or is there still hope that we’ll be seeing the NHL in South Korea next Winter?
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