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Added June 6th, 2016 by Ian
NHL

International Olympic Committee won’t cover costs for NHL players

The next Winter Olympics will be taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea, but there’s a good chance professional NHL players won’t be taking part in the ice hockey tournament. One of the major reasons for this is the recent announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which stated that the organization won’t be offering to pay for the travel costs for the players or cover the costs for their insurance. Fans who believe the Olympics should be just for amateur athletes are pleased with this decision and feel if millionaire professional athletes are allowed to participate in the games they can surely pay their own way.

Rene Fasel, the president of the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation), said it doesn’t look like NHL players will participate in South Korea because, “The IOC took the decision not to pay transportation and insurance costs for the NHL and NHL players to come to the next Olympic Games. We had a meeting with the NHL last week and the prognosis is not really good.”

The NHL has sent players to the Olympics ever since the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. The league shuts down for close to three weeks while the players represent their home nations. Of course, they risk injury while doing so and the NHL schedule typically becomes congested due to the shut down. The last Winter Games took place in Sochi, Russia in 2014 and the NHL came to an agreement with the IOC and the IIHF several months before the Games kicked off. The IOC ended up paying $14 million to cover insurance and transportation costs while the IIHF forked over another $18 million.

Fasel said the IIHF would like to see the best hockey players in the world in South Korea in 2018. However, if the IOC isn’t willing to cover any of the costs as they did for the past five Olympic tournaments then it means the IIHF would have to pay for everything unless the NHL decides to help out. This may be good news for amateur hockey players, but some NHL stars such as Russian winger Alexander Ovechkin have said they’re going to play in the Olympics even if the NHL doesn’t reach a deal with the IOC.

Fasel told the press that the IOC believes if it keeps paying the costs for NHL players then other pro athletes from sports such basketball, golf and tennis will also want their costs covered. Fasel said the NHL is unique though since it’s the only league that needs to shut down to participate in the Olympics since basketball is held at the Summer Games and the NBA isn’t affected. He added that the players want to participate so the IIHF will try to find a suitable solution.

The NHL has scheduled a tournament called the World Cup of hockey for later in 2016 though which will feature several different countries playing in a tournament in Toronto before the next NHL season faces off. Some cynics believe the league is trying to raise money to cover Olympic costs with this tournament while others believe the tournament is being held as an alternative to the Olympics.

 
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