February 6, 2018
Every four years, students might recognize some familiar faces passing the puck around in the Winter Olympics.
For years, students have watched athletes like the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby compete in the Olympics for their respective countries.
This has changed, however, since the National Hockey League will not allow professional hockey players to compete in the Winter Olympics this starting Feb. 9. The decision came from series of disputes between the NHL and the International Olympic Committee over costs concerning NHL athletes, including travel, insurance and accomodations.
Some students, like senior psychology major Matthew Seidel, a former member of the UCCS club hockey team, aren’t upset about the decision.
“I’m okay with it because the NHL is it’s own league. It doesn’t mess up it’s season and go on for so long. It’s not great for the players’ health,” he said.
However, the National Hockey League Players’ Association seems to feel differently, putting out a strong statement against the decision in April 2017.
“Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season’s schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage.”
Players compete from all over the world. According to QuantHockey, there are 87 from Sweden, 38 from Finland, 36 from the Czech Republic, 35 from Russia and 238 from the U.S. Canada outnumbers all with 416 athletes.
This year’s U.S. team consists of five players from the Swiss National League and the Kontinental Hockey League, four players from the NCAA, three players from the Swedish League and the American Hockey League, and two players from the German League.
In an NBC Sports article from Dec. 2017, picking the team to compete in these Olympics was more difficult, but also easier in a way, without NHL players available for the first time since 1994.
For more on the U.S. hockey team and their Olympic schedule, go to teamusa.usahockey.com.