Story by Scott Sharkey - Photos by Brayden Conover
The National Hockey League elected to pull all of the players they have out of the Winter Olympics to be held February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. There are many reasons why the NHL decided to make a move like this. However, the two main reasons are because of the threat of North Korea and the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC covers about 90 percent of the cost for the NHL players to play in the Winter Olympics. According to time.com, the IOC was not willing to cover the cost for the upcoming Winter Olympics because of the hassle it creates for the league. The NHL players do not agree with the decision, and many players have gone on record and stated they still want to go and
represent their countries in the Winter Olympics.
According to NHL.com, any player who does not follow these orders and still goes to play will be fined and punished for breach of contract.
“The NHL players made a commitment in all of their contracts that they would agree to any terms and follow the orders given to them by league owners and team management,” said Tyler Bowden, Rose State student.
This will not keep hockey, as a whole, out of the Winter Olympics, but NHL players will be replaced with players from leagues like the East Coast Hockey League, Swedish Hockey League and other European hockey leagues. The order will not bar the United States from competing in the Winter Olympics either, but hockey may have other players participating in the Winter Olympics who normally may not have had a chance.
One player in particular, Matt Donovan from Edmond, plays in the SHL for the Frolunda Indians and is currently trying out for the United States Olympic hockey team.
“It is an absolute honor to have the chance of representing my country in the upcoming Winter Olympics; it is truly a dream come true,” Donovan said.
Many NHL players are trying to fight the league’s decision on not letting them represent their countries in the Winter Olympics, according to theguardian.com. The league fears that this may ultimately lead to a player protest and perhaps even a lockout like the during the 2012-2013 season. It was only half of the season, but it was caused by the same scenario of the IOC being unwilling to cover the costs for the Winter Olympics. Back in the 2012-2013 season, players were still able to represent their countries in the 2014 Winter Olympics. This will be the first time the NHL will not attend the Winter Olympics since the 1994 winter games, according to sbnation.com.