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NHL considers pulling players out of the Olympics
Michael Franklin, CTV Calgary
Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:56AM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:37PM MST
The National Hockey League is taking a long, hard, look at the security situation in Sochi for next month’s Olympics and may reconsider sending players.
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, is concerned over the safety of the NHL players heading to the games and says that if something ‘significant’ happens before the games open on February 9, the league will re-evaluate sending players.
Furthermore, the NHL says if their players do end up going to Sochi, it could be the last to see professional players take to the ice.
The league still hasn’t decided on Olympic participation past February’s games.
They aren’t convinced that freezing the season for about two weeks right in the middle is good for business, especially when the Games are taking place on another continent.
"The North American experiences have been better than far-away Olympics for a host reasons, including exposure," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "When you have a North American-based Olympics, you can have a shorter period without NHL games. We're going to have the longest break we've ever had, and that could interrupt momentum for teams and have an affect on their competitiveness based on how many players they have playing, and how many injuries they have in Sochi."
Players, on the other hand, see the chance to play in the Olympics as something else entirely that few want to pass up.
The Flames' Ladislav Smid, who'll lace up for the Czech Olympic team, says you can't pass up the opportunity. "You can't really worry about that stuff. Obviously, it's in the back of your mind, but Olympics is once every four years and it's a huge honour to be there. It would be really sad not to be there just because of the security issues."
“It’s an unbelievable experience,” says Red Wings’ forward Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson has competed in each of the last four Olympics for his native Sweden and thinks it’s a bad idea to withhold the chance from future players.
About 150 NHL players have been picked to play in Russia and the season will go on hiatus from February 9 to February 24.
(With files from CTVNews.ca)