So, is it worth it for the NHL to give up more ground to the IOC? Well, that depends who you ask.
A significant number of owners are clearly against Olympic participation, and it’s not that hard to understand why. Owning a team is a business, and it’s never in a business’s best interest to assume risk in loaning out its most important employees for little to no financial compensation in return.
The owners have also expressed a desire to avoid the mid-season shutdown that allows players to head to the Olympics, as well as the compressed NHL schedule that would result.
Most players will tell you they’re in favor of going, because the ones who get selected to play in the Games consider it a great honor and a dream come true. And those who aren’t selected? They get to enjoy a month-long vacation.
Not surprisingly, the players haven’t been shy about voicing their displeasure with the league’s decision to skip 2018. Some didn’t wait. Alex Ovechkin announced that he was going to go to South Korea and represent Team Russia regardless of where the league landed in negotiations. (Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said he wouldn’t stand in the way of any of his players if they wanted to compete, but recent reports suggest the NHL may not allow individual teams to let players go.)
In a statement released on Monday following the decision, the NHLPA said it was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the decision, one which they believe “impedes the growth of our great game.”
That last part has been disputed by some owners who aren’t thrilled with the 2018 host site. They’re not happy about the idea of making the sacrifice to go to South Korea, a market where they feel the potential of “growing the game” is limited.