Will the NHL sit out its Players for the 2018 Olympics?
Posted by: Charlie Smith
While the Olympics provide plenty of betting action for online gambling fans, those particularly fond of the NHL may not be able to see their favorite players at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The 2018 Winter Games will be hosted by PyeongChang in South Korea and will feature several new events such as the snowboarding big air and the thrilling curling mixed doubles. Those contests are already set in stone but it is still uncertain whether NHL players will be allowed to compete in the upcoming Winter Games. NHL players have competed in past Olympics, but just because it’s happened before doesn’t mean the NHL will have an easier time coordinating such a logistical nightmare.
The Olympics will be taking place halfway across the globe, and they will also be taking place during the middle of the NHL season. That amounts to a staggering 13 hour time difference ahead of those living in EST. Trying to coordinate jetlagged players traveling across the globe amidst a regular season is a challenge not too many people would willingly take. Some fans may argue that it’s better for the NHL players to not compete so the Olympics don’t interfere with their online gambling predictions.
Even though it wouldn’t be an easy task there is tremendous value for the NHL in having its players compete at the Olympics. The Olympics provide a platform for athletes to receive global recognition. Thus, having NHL players compete at the Olympics would only raise awareness for the world’s premiere hockey league. If a player is able to lead his country to gold he will receive international stardom overnight and the NHL would provide a weekly outlet for fans to tune in and follow their newest star, something many Olympic athletes don’t have. If you don’t think hockey could use the promotion just go ask your friends what the World Cup of Hockey is, the online gambling community may know, but just go see how many of them are informed. Compare that to how many know who Michael Phelps and you can begin to see the stage the Olympics has to offer.
The Olympics has a power over both sports fans and those who don’t like sports in a way that only the Super Bowl can rival. It’s hard not to be a fan of an event that provides a stage for countries to show off their strongest athletes. Part of the Olympics’ allure is due to the fact that they are quadrennial and while Olympic hockey finals have drawn huge audiences before the NHL hasn’t always been able to translate those audiences into their fan base.
Part of the reason that those final games in the Olympics have been able to draw such large audiences is due to the fact that the countries that were facing each other had their NHL stars on the roster. This begs the question; do the Olympics need the NHL more than the NHL needs the Olympics? While there might not be a clear answer to that question the top sportsbooks, and fans in general, stand to benefit from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) seeing eye to eye. We may not know whether NHL players will be partaking in the Winter Olympics but we will have our answer before the year is over.