Team Canada celebrates a goal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Now

Official predicts NHL players back at Olympics

Top administrator Nicholson predicts NHL players will return to Winter Games

By Chris Lines, The Associated Press

BANGKOK – A senior Canadian hockey official believes NHL players will return to the Winter Olympics, and is urging an early decision this time.

The participation of NHL players in the Olympics is contentious because of disruption to the league season and teams’ concerns over injury risks.

Bob Nicholson, a vice-president of the International Ice Hockey Federation and former Hockey Canada chief, was asked Friday about the prospect of NHL players competing at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“The players want to go but it’s very difficult for the NHL,” Nicholson said. “If everyone agrees to take some and leave some on the table, I think we’ll see NHL players in the future.”

“You never like it to go down to the wire, because everyone loses,” he added. “The sooner you decide to go, the better it will be for them and for all of the countries participating.”

NHL players have participated in every Winter Olympics since 1998. Doubts have been raised about the league’s participation in Pyeongchang because of, among other things, a lack of hockey tradition in South Korea.

Nicholson was speaking at the Association of National Olympic Committees inaugural awards. Canada’s hockey teams won both the men’s and women’s awards for the best team performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Canada beat Sweden for the men’s gold in Sochi, but the final was overshadowed by the suspension of Sweden’s Nicklas Backstrom on the day of the game for a doping offence.

Sweden was angered by the late notice that its star player would be out, and the NHL Players’ Association was unhappy with the way the matter was handled by Olympic officials. The dispute was seen as diminishing the likelihood that NHL players would participate in 2018.

Nicholson, who is also a vice-chairman of the Edmonton Oilers, said the Backstrom case would not be the principal factor in deciding on the Pyeongchang Olympics.

“That was a very unfortunate situation,” Nicholson said. “The National Hockey League takes doping very seriously, so that wouldn’t be an issue of why they’re not going to go. The biggest one was the safety of their players, players getting hurt at the Olympic Games midway through the season.”

Just Posted

Skiers in the groove at Apex

Competitors in full swing at Canadian Selections this weekend.

Penticton Subway making it fresh for Soupateria

Subway shops are donating 600 inches of subs, 100 cookies and drinks to Soupateria Dec. 20

What’s shaking at the museum

Kids got to learn about earthquakes Saturday at the museum.

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Vees drop heartbreaker in West Kelowna, host Teddy Bear Toss Saturday

Penticton loses overtime game to West Kelowna Warriors

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Kamloops RCMP warning public to stay away from unfolding domestic dispute

The public is being asked to avoid Sabiston Creek Road off of the highway

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Most Read