Getting NHL players to the 2018 Olympics might be more complicated now.
That’s because the International Olympic Committee has decided not to cover the transportation or insurance costs for NHL players to participate in the upcoming Winter Games, according to IIHF President Rene Fasel.
“We had a meeting with the NHL last week and the prognosis is not really good,” Fasel told insidethegames. “Our wish is to have the best players. [But the IOC] not covering the cost as they did at the last five Olympic Games puts us in a difficult financial situation. We still have challenges – it is even more difficult than before.”
With the games set to be played in PyeongChang, South Korea, getting NHL players is naturally a logistical issue. While the popularity of hockey at the Olympics creates the potential for the league to grow the game, it also means temporarily suspending the regular season in February and putting the league’s top players at risk of injury. As we saw in 2014, that threat of injury is very real as Islanders captain John Tavares suffered a torn MCL and meniscus in his left knee while he was with Team Canada.
That injury angered Islanders GM Garth Snow, who said back in 2014, “Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season ticket holders now? It’s a joke. They want all the benefits from NHL players in Olympics and don’t want to pay when our best player gets hurt.”
At the time, the New York Daily News reported that Tavares’ salary would be paid for by the insurance policy covered by the IOC. It now seems like that would not be the case if the same scenario were to play out during the 2018 Olympics.