Will the NHL be in PyeongChang? What they’re saying

Will the NHL be in PyeongChang? What they're saying

Canada and Sweden play hockey at Sochi Olympics

Will they or won’t they? At the moment, that’s the unanswerable question on the minds of many Olympic hockey fans as the NHL head office continues to plan their 2017-18 season without an Olympic break. Meanwhile, NHL players have voiced their desire to play, to represent their countries – as well as the game – in a best-on-best tournament in PyeongChang, some hoping to play for their first chance at an Olympic medal. Who said what, when they said it and what team they could potentially represent in 2018 can be found here. Expect new voices to join the conversation as the major players move toward a final decision.

March 2017

Drew Doughty | Los Angeles Kings – Canada

“It would be awesome to win a third one, we’ve won a few tournaments here lately, and everybody is going to be gunning for us. So it’s going to be that much harder to win, which would make it fun. It wouldn’t be the same with college or minor-league players in PyeongChang. I wouldn’t be watching,” – L.A. Daily News

Patrice Bergeron | Boston Bruins – Canada

“I think it would be disappointing. I think guys want to go. We’ll see how it turns out. I think it’s the biggest sporting event in the world. As an athlete you want to participate. I’ve had two amazing experiences. It’s hard for me to say no to that. I thought it was amazing hockey for fans too, to watch.”  CSNNE

David Backes | Boston Bruins – USA

“Whether I had, or have, a chance to play in another Olympics a year from now I’m not sure, but the Olympics I have been able to participate in have been some of the best times I’ve had playing hockey. Representing my country in doing what I do for a living was exhilarating and one of the proudest moments I’ve had in the game. Whether I’m able to go or not, I think that next generation deserves that opportunity.”  CSNNE

Jakub Voracek | Philadelphia Flyers – Czech Republic

“Absolutely ridiculous. We have it once every four years. I read something that Bill Daly said we’re not going, nobody wants to go. The players want to go. Why are you saying you’re not going? You’re not part of the players’ association. Nobody wants you there. They want the players.”  CSN Philly

Bill Daly | NHL deputy commissioner

“Unless something changes we’re not going. We’ve said that consistently for three months, so there’s nothing new about that.”  The Canadian Press

Gary Bettman | NHL commissioner

“I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it’s very disruptive on the season, and there is somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject. As it stands right now we don’t have an agreement to go and … we’re focused on a schedule that doesn’t include the Olympics. It doesn’t mean that if something dramatic happened at some point in time — obviously that could get too late, but there’s nothing for us to do right now because there is nothing happening.”  AP

February 2017

Hampus Lindholm | Anaheim Ducks – Sweden

“Anytime you get to represent your country, you want to be able to. The Olympics is such a huge event. I think anyone would want to go there, especially a young guy like me. I haven’t really been around that long and that would be a great experience.

“That’s going to be something that’s hard to say no to. Hopefully they can come to some agreement and get it done.”  The Orange County Register

Cam Fowler | Anaheim Ducks – USA

“It’s a whole different animal. It’s not just hockey. It’s the greatest athletes in the world. It’s the greatest spectacle. And the chance to play for your country there around the best athletes in the world makes it a little different than say a World Cup when it’s just hockey. To me, that’s the big difference.”  The Orange County Register

Thomas Bach | IOC President

After meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and IIHF President René Fasel in New York:

“This was a courtesy visit, and there was a very good open and friendly atmosphere. Hopefully this has prepared the ground for successful negotiations between the NHL and International Federation. Of course, we all want to see the best players at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, and we know the players feel the same. Therefore, we hope even more that the International Federation and the NHL will reach a solution to make the Olympic dreams of the players come true.” – AP

Ted Leonsis | NHL Owner – Washington Capitals

“It’s a players’ league. If Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby and Nick Backstrom tell us, ‘We want to go play for our country,’ how am I going to say no? I might get fined. I might get punished in some way, but I feel I’m in partnership with Nick and Braden and Alex. It’s a tough decision.” AP

January 2017

John Tavares | New York Islanders – Canada

“You look at the big picture, there are challenges to it. We, as players, love representing our countries. Best-on-best hockey really doesn’t happen very often. Those are things you really enjoy as a player. Team Canada is not an easy team to make. If you get that chance, you want to make the most of it.”  Toronto Star

Taylor Hall | New Jersey Devils – Canada

“I don’t think you should be able to pick and choose what Olympics you go to. That’s not what the Olympics stand for. If you ever talk to anyone who participated in the Olympics, it’s a special place, something that I’d love to be part of. I wouldn’t want it taken away because the NHL didn’t want to go to South Korea. It’s special no matter what.”  Toronto Star

Gary Bettman | NHL Commissioner

Over NHL All-Star Weekend:

“I think when the IOC said, ‘You know what, we don’t think it’s worth it, we’re not going to pay.’ I think that may have opened a whole can of worms.” – The Canadian Press

Jonathan Toews | Chicago Blackhawks – Canada

“I don’t think it’s just about Canadians wanting to go to the Olympics. Every guy at the NHL level wants to represent their country at that level. If you ask me, I don’t think you can really compare it to the World Cup or the world championships. The Olympics are a whole other thing.

“Quite frankly, I think to turn on the Olympics next year and watch hockey teams or the players representing their countries, if it’s not the best in the world, I don’t know. I don’t know. I just feel like we’re misrepresenting our sport on a pretty huge scale and a pretty huge level. A lot of the talk has been it’s the players pushing for it, and it’s the players that are interested and want to go. I think the players do want to go, but I think it should be of interest to the players and the league. I think the NHL should be in the Olympics.”  NHL.com

Connor McDavid | Edmonton Oilers – Canada

“One hundred percent. NHL players should be there. I certainly hope they are there. But ultimately it isn’t up to me. There’s a lot of people a lot higher than me who will make that decision. But 100% they should go. I couldn’t really picture an Olympics without it, to be honest. It would mean everything. Just to get the chance to chase down a spot on the team. Just to have that opportunity. It would be very special. We’re very lucky in Canada to have a long list of great Canadian players who are available. It’s a tough team to make.”  Winnipeg Sun

December 2016

T.J. Oshie | Washington Capitals – USA

“One hundred percent, we should be there. I think it’s just important for hockey. I think it’s our responsibility in the stage that we’re at and the impact that we have on the game. I think it’s our responsibility to play in that tournament and represent our country.” – The Washington Post

November 2016

Sidney Crosby | Pittsburgh Penguins – Canada

“In time we’ll all talk about it and kind of get everyone’s opinion. Right now everyone’s trying to get ideas. Everyone’s trying to see how things would work.

“Ultimately we’ll see if that ends up being the case because the Olympics is a big topic of conversation right now. That’s something that’s being talked about a lot. We’ll see what happens.”  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 2016

Alex Ovechkin | Washington Capitals – Russia

“My decision is the same. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen right now, but we just have to wait what they say and we’ll see. …

“It’s a situation where you don’t know what’s going to happen. But obviously I said I’m going to play.”  ESPN.com

April 2016

René Fasel | IIHF President

“The IOC took the decision not to pay transportation and insurance costs for NHL and NHL players to come to the next Olympic Games. We had a meeting with the NHL last week and the prognosis is not really good. Our wish is to have the best players. Not covering the cost as they did at the last five Olympic Games puts us in a difficult financial situation. We still have challenges – it is even more difficult than before.”  Insidethegames.biz

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