USA Hockey's Ogrean Thinks NHL Likely Will Return To Competition For '22 Beijing Games
USA Hockey Exec Dir Dave Ogrean, who is retiring in August, on Friday said NHL players not going to the '18 Games "might be a one-time thing," and he thinks the league is "certainly going to want to come back and play" in the '22 Beijing Games, according according to Stephen Harris of the BOSTON HERALD. But he said the story in PyeongChang "could be a pretty interesting one." Ogrean said of the league choosing not to participate, “It wasn’t a big shock to the system for us, by any means. We’ve got well over 125 Americans who are playing professional hockey in European leagues -- Finland, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the KHL, whatever. Those leagues will take a normal international break for the Olympic period. And that’s going to provide a significant portion of the pool from which we’re going to draw guys. There’s a lot of good Americans playing over there.” Ogrean said there are also "unanswered questions about the availability of players" from the AHL, and there is "always the possibility of asking a couple of guys who are ready to make the jump from the college ranks to the pros." Harris notes there will be "no lengthy slate of pre-Olympic exhibition games for Team USA." Ogrean: "We’re not doing that. We don’t need to, and I don’t think it’s practical to do that anymore. It’s wildly expensive, and you can now scout players" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/15). Meanwhile, POCOG President Lee Hee-beom is "still hoping for an NHL U-turn" for next year's Games. He said, "I don't think they made the final decision so far. (There is) still room to discuss and negotiate" (AP, 5/15).
DUMP & CHASE: In N.Y., Valji & Robenhymer note with about nine months until the Games begin, national hockey federations are "grappling with how to build their rosters." USA Hockey Assistant Exec Dir of Hockey Operations Jim Johannson said, “The good news is, we have a lot of players, and we’re confident that in the end, we’re going to have a very competitive team. It’s just tough today to be able to say, ‘This is our core,’ because we just don’t know who is even going to be available to us at the moment” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/15).