SBD/August 26, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Canada's Refusal To Insure NHLers' Practice Signals Future Olympic Participation Issues

Team Canada chose not to practice in favor of paying for player insurance
For fans of NHLers competing in the Olympics, it "might be prudent to get your fill in 2014," as future league participation is "growing more and more unlikely," according to Gary Lawless of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Not "half a day into the beginning of an orientation camp for NHLers hoping to play for Canada, and whispering this latest era of NHL participation is near an end was growing louder." It would have "cost Hockey Canada over $1 million just to insure players to take part in practices" last weekend. Team Canada "simply chose to not go on the ice rather than fork over the cash to insure a few light skates," which "doesn't bode well" for future participation. The NHL wants to "revive the World Cup, playing every second year, and the ever-increasing cost of insurance will be a convenient excuse if and when the league makes its move to bow out of the Olympics." Control over broadcast schedules, revenue, game sites and costs "make the World Cup concept far more attractive to the NHL and its owners." Playing late in the summer without interrupting the NHL season "is also a benefit to the league." But the IOC "doesn't like being dictated to." The cost will "only rise in the future and NHL ownership's stance will only harden" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/26).
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