By Andy Krutsinger,
Mt. Pleasant News
I?m a big Team U.S.A. hockey fan. Actually, I?m a pretty big America fan in general. But Team U.S.A. hockey is my personal favorite team to cheer for.
So you could imagine my disappointment when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said to U.S.A. Today on Tuesday, ?As things stand now, people should assume (NHL players) are not going,? to the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea.
Now, I know some of you might not be as big of a Patriot as I am, and don?t keep up with Red White and Blue hockey, but this is detrimental news to America ever shedding the reputation of Canada?s little brother on the international hockey scene.
What you might remember from U.S. History class and the hit 2004 docudrama ?Miracle,? is that the U.S. pulled off one of the major upsets in sports history at the 1980 Olympic games in Lake Placid, N.Y., when they took the gold medal over the favored Soviet Union.
What you might not know is since then, Team U.S.A. hasn?t won the gold medal and has been on a never-ending quest to relive the glory days of the Cold War era.
Back in 1980, professional players weren?t even allowed to play in the Olympic games. In the 21st century, though, it?s common for the best of the best to play in the major Olympic sports of basketball and hockey.
In the Summer Olympics, basketball usually gets pretty decent ratings early on in the tournament before everyone remembers that Team U.S.A. is about five times as good as the next best team and then everyone switches their TV channel to swimming or gymnastics.
But when it comes to the Winter Olympics, ice hockey is really the cat?s pajamas.
Try and name three Winter Olympic athletes that aren?t hockey players. Go ahead, I?ll wait?yeah, not going to happen.
The hockey tournament carries the Winter Games. Everyone wants to see the team U.S.A. underdogs take on those bullies from up north.
It doesn?t hurt the rivalry that the Canadians have knocked the Americans out of the last two Olympic tournaments and won them both.
But even with the history of losing to the bad guys up north, being a U.S. hockey fan is the best; waving the little U.S. flag as they announce the starting lineup, trash-talking Canadian celebrities like Celine Dion and Justin Bieber on Twitter, taking a knee when they play ?Oh Canada? on the TV. It?s awesome.
Alright, maybe your average run-of-the-mill U.S.A. fan doesn?t get that into the rivalry, but a handful of us do. (Maybe not those last two things. I was being facetious.) Taking NHL stars out of the tournament would totally ruin it.
Now, I know the Olympics would still go on with amateur players, so technically the rivalry would stay alive, but it just wouldn?t be the same. You can?t decide who the better hockey country is when all of the top players are sitting at home.
Now, you might be wondering?why would the NHL even consider forcing its players to sit out of the Olympic games. Do they just hate fun?
Well, yeah, pretty much. They hate fun. But also, because of the schedule, the NHL has to take a short break every four years when the Olympics are going on, and they probably lose a bunch of money, and blah blah blah, excuses excuses. Alright, now I?ve presented both sides of the argument.
So commissioner Bettman, if you?re out there in the world reading this, please reconsider. Let the top players play.
According to Google, you make 9.5 million dollars a year. So take a couple hundred thousand of that when you get your next paycheck and go buy yourself some American Pride.