Friday, November 15, 2013

Is Gary Bettman preparing to extinguish the NHL's Olympic Flame?

When the organizers of the Sochi Olympics bring us to the end of their Olympic journey and urge the youth of the world to gather in Pyeongchang in 2018, perhaps if you listen close enough you'll hear Gary Bettman going "not so fast"...

Some interesting musings from the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as the offers up the hint that the NHL's participation in Sochi in 2014 could be the last that we see NHL players in the Olympics for the foreseeable future.

Speaking earlier this week at a Toronto Sports Marketing Conference, the Commissioner outlined his thoughts for a change for the NHL's involvement in future International hockey events.

While there is a considerable draw for NHLers (particulary those from Russia) to the 2014 games, the next Winter Olympics are destined for South Korea and the NHL it seems ins't overly enthused at that particular prospect for 2018.

By that time, if the NHL's Commissioner sees his blue print in place the NHL will instead be spear-heading a World Cup style of hockey tournament, one which it would seem allows for more NHL control on the foundation of (not to mention the marketing rights).

What kind of recruiting drive would then be in place for the Olympics remains to be seen, some have suggested that it be turned over to the Junior age players, modelled on the success of the annual World Junior Tournaments.

Previous to the NHL's involvement in the Olympic games, there was a national team program in place, whether Hockey Canada will prefer a return to that format will be something for much discussion once the Olympic flame of Sochi has been extinguished.

NBC Sports-- Bettman would prefer World Cup to Olympics
Toronto Star-- Bettman favours World Cup of Hockey over Olympic participation
CBC-- Gary Bettman Says Sending NHL Players to Olympics not an easy decision
NESN-- Gary Bettman Against Sending Players to More Olympics, favours World Cup of Hockey Instead
Yahoo Sports-- Gary Bettman's World Cup vs. The Winter Olympics

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