There are plenty of takes balancing the blame for the NHL skipping the 2018 Winter Olympics between the league, the players and the IOC. The NHLPA is having none of that.
Of all the responses to that decision – and this post will get to a few key players’ responses – the union really ripped into the NHL for a “shortsighted decision.”
Here’s the full release via the NHLPA, with a transcript below it:
“The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL’s shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics.
Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season’s schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage.
A unique opportunity lies ahead with the 2018 and 2022 Olympics in Asia. The NHL may believe it is penalizing the IOC or the players, or both, for not giving the owners some meaningful concessions in order to induce them to agree to go to PyeongChang. Instead, this impedes the growth of our great game by walking away from an opportunity to reach sports fans worldwide.
Moreover, it is doing so after financial issues relating to insurance and transportation have been resolved with the IOC and IIHF. The league’s efforts to blame others for its decision is as unfortunate as the decision itself.
NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters. This is the NHL’s decision, and its alone. It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans.”
Phew. /wipes away sweat
There are already people responding to this release with fear of lockouts, which … (reaches for antacid).
Anyway, on a day of run-of-the-mill, PR-speak-soaked releases, it’s nice to see a little spirit in this response. Key players like Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have added to the discontented fray.
See Price’s thoughts in the video above this post’s headline, while Lundqvist was pretty straightforward:
… And Vlasic was a bit more symbolic:
Speaking of that …
Overall? Well, the NHL’s apparently putting discussions on hold:
So … kind of a mess, but at least this added some spice to something that’s been almost universally sour for fans (and, apparently, players?).