Earlier this week, when Tampa Bay was awarded the 2018 All-Star Game, it was seen as a further blow to the chances of NHLers participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
That’s because the last three Olympic years (2006, 2010, 2014), there has been no All-Star Game. For the NHL, it’s been go to the Olympics or host an All-Star Game.
Today, commissioner Gary Bettman was asked if Tampa’s All-Star Game could potentially be canceled if the NHL strikes a last-minute minute deal to go to South Korea.
“No possibility,” Bettman replied, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I think we’ve been about as clear on this subject as we can. The announcement six weeks ago, I reaffirmed that on Monday. I know there’s a lot of people saying, the International Ice Hockey Federation, the IOC, even the players’ association, ‘Oh no, this can still happen.’ No it can’t. We’ll be here, looking forward to being here, and the Olympics should not be a concern.”
Still, many will continue to hold out hope until the league’s 2017-18 schedule is released later this month. After all, there were All-Star Games in 1998 and 2002, and the NHL went to the Olympics both those years.
The 2018 Winter Olympics run Feb. 9-25 in South Korea, starting just two weeks after the 2018 ASG is scheduled to be played (Jan. 28).