Categorized | News, Opinion

LA TIMES on NHL players in OLYMPIC HOCKEY: WRONG AGAIN! But there was a brave comment!

The Los Angeles Times had this opinion piece from Helene Elliott lamenting the prospect of the NHL players skipping the 2018 Olympics:

Another unique aspect of NHL players’ Olympic participation is the absolute disappearance of egos. Players who normally play 22 minutes a game accept lesser roles: Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, the NHL’s second-leading scorer, was Canada’s third-line center in practice Monday. Corey Perry, his teammate and Olympic linemate, also faces a reduction of ice time and doesn’t mind. He’s a two-time Olympian and hopes for a third chance.

“I think it’s great. I enjoy it. It’s probably the best hockey I’ve ever played,” he said. “It’s all the best players in the world competing for their countries. There’s not a better thing to do than put them all in one rink and let them go at it.”

It should be as simple as that.

But Elliott got this first comment in response:

wascoman at 8:59 AM February 11, 2014

Wrong wrong wrong. Having professional players in any sport at any Olympics is wrong. This is and should always be at the closest to amature level that you can get. People will say that other countries will use their pros, but we now know who those are and we can ban them from participating. Do you honestly think that Lake Placid would have ment as much if we had had professional players instead of a bunch of college kids? NO!

(I also added my comment to pile on the anti-professional athlete comments and there has not been any other comments!)
Actually wascoman is on point.  Amateur status can be defined, the Olympics are different, and yes 1980 in Lake Placid was special because we did beat the overwhelming favorite which was in effect a semi-pro team.  This post has the quote from 1980 USA Coach Herb Brooks that says (I paraphrase) that now we have Dream Teams, we don’t get to dream.  Nor do other nations.  Certainly not Brazil.  It also has corrosive effects on sports development in other nations.  Frustrating as it is to root for USA right now, I’ll stick to curling!
PS:  Did you note this line from the Elliott article:  “Corey Perry, his teammate and Olympic linemate, also faces a reduction of ice time and doesn’t mind. He’s a two-time Olympian and hopes for a third chance.”
So how many Olympics do the NHL players get?  It’s similar to the men’s basketball monstrosity.  The amateur players are shut out altogether.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

2 Responses to “LA TIMES on NHL players in OLYMPIC HOCKEY: WRONG AGAIN! But there was a brave comment!”

  1. David Perry says:

    Why is it that people who otherwise are free-market and libertarian (correctly, I should add) and generally believe in the right of everyone to work hard in their field and reap the rewards suddenly become doctrinaire Marxists when it comes to sports? “Amateurism” was an invention of the late-19th century aristocracy and wealthy to keep poor people out of sports. It did not exist in the ancient Greek games; people who won events at those would be kept quite comfortable financially by their hometown for the rest of their lives.

    Let’s correct some misconceptions put forth in this and other posts:

    a.) Brazil does badly in hockey for exactly the same reasons that lead to a lack of hockey talent in Alabama compared to Minnesota: it’s not cold, and no one cares about the sport. In soccer and basketball–sports in which there is far more world interest and the level of competition is much higher–Brazil does pretty well for itself, with exactly the same set of resources.
    b.) The US was actually one of the few countries that voted *against* letting NBA players into the Olympics–if you don’t believe me, Google it. The rest of the world wanted it because 1.) they wanted to be able to use their NBA players, and 2.) they wanted to play against the best.
    c.) Tina Maze, who is glorified in another post on here, is quite wealthy both from having won lots of races on the pro circuit and from the various endorsements, singing opportunities, etc, that her skiing fame has brought her. She is quite emphatically a part of the “imperialistic” sports system. Let me be so bold to say, however, that that actually probably helps her relative to skiiers from bigger countries–rather than having to depend on the funds that small Slovenia could afford to support her training, she can exploit the riches of the entire skiing world–funded mostly by powers like the US, Germany, Switzerland, etc.
    d.) Almost all of the gold medals in hockey before NHL players came to the Olympics were won by three countries–the US, Canada, and the Soviets. Not exactly a bunch of underdogs, huh?
    e.) Why precisely do you lose the right to “dream” about participating in certain events in your field just because you make a lot of money? If Brad Pitt or Natalie Portman decide to donate their time to a prestigious theater production, why should they be denied just because they’ve made a snotload of money in movies? Not to mention, of course, that the great amateurs of today become the great professionals of tomorrow, which means that limiting the Olympics to amateurs wouldn’t change the identities of the competitors that much. For instance, much of the 1980 Miracle team went on to have long and productive NHL careers (it turns out that it wasn’t quite as big of an upset as we thought.)
    But I’ll tell you what; I’ll support the idea of an amateur Olympics–as long as EVERYONE involved goes amateur. When the journalists and TV broadcasters serve without pay, when the big corporations donate millions of dollars without receiving any advertising or logos on the uniform in return, and when the people running the IOC stay in the athletes’ village instead of in five-star hotels–then I’ll be favor of an amateur Olympics. I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

  2. Sandy Sanders

    Thanks for your thoughtful and wonderful comment. I need to ponder it for a few days and I think I’ll use it as a springboard for another post. Thanks again for reading and coming bay.



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