Great traditions deserve great players

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The Olympic games are a time when talented athletes from all around the world can get together to represent and show their support for their country. It’s a time where a country unites and supports their athletes. Being chosen to represent your country out of hundreds of athletes in the Olympics is a very prestigious honour and reward for all the hard work they put into their careers over countless years.

NHL players deserve the same kind of recognition, yet the NHL is contemplating whether or not they should ban them from participating in the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic games due to many logistical issues that have yet to be resolved. The Olympics are a celebration of the best athletes from around the world, where they can represent and compete for their countries and make them proud. The NHL should not be allowed to decide whether or not these athletes get to participate.

According to The Canadian Press, the NHL is after “some things that currently are reserved for broadcast rights holders,” like use of video highlights the Olympic rings symbol. The NHL is also asking for better accommodations, tickets and access for team doctors. An article published in The New York Times stated that “after losing three months of revenue during a lockout, NHL owners may be even more reluctant to forgo two weeks of revenue in 2013-14.”

I do agree that they are a money-making business, therefore they should get some insurance if one of their key players gets hurt, but the rest seems too greedy. The Olympics are struggling as it is, therefore they are very protective of their broadcasting rights and logos.

The Olympics represent the unity of five continents — Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, as portrayed by the rings on the Olympic flag — as well as a time for all countries to come together. I think It should be the NHL’s obligation to let their athletes participate. The NHL is a powerhouse and can afford to lose 16 days of revenue every four years because it’s not going to break them. As a matter of fact, it will probably bring them more revenue and greater promotion because, as the Times stated, “The Vancouver games in 2010 produced record ratings for hockey and provided a public relations boost for the NHL.”

The organization is already in trouble with fans over this year’s lockout and they would be even more disappointed with the league if they forbid players from going. Hockey superstar Alexander Ovechkin made a vow that he would attend the Olympics and support his country regardless of the NHL’s decision.

Clearly players want to support their home nation and fans want to see them do it. NHL players should get treated no differently from any other athletes and should be able to make their own decisions regarding their participation in the Olympic games. They worked hard to get to where they are today and should not be denied the opportunity to show off a little.


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