The National Hockey League announced in November of 2017 that it would be cancelling the 2018-19 season. NHL teams scrambled to find players for their rosters, a process made more difficult because many players were still playing in overseas leagues during this time frame.
The “Olympic hockey” is a sport that has been played since 1892. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to expand from just one winter game to include summer games as well. This caused some issues with the N.H.L., which led to them deciding not to participate in the Olympics anymore. Read more in detail here: olympic hockey.
BEIJING (Xinhua) — Tom Renney, Hockey Canada’s CEO, made a covert call to Blair MacKasey, a former scout, early last autumn.
Although the prospect of a coronavirus pandemic had subsided, Renney was concerned that the NHL would abandon its intention to send players to the Beijing Olympics. If that decision occurred, it threatened to throw Canada’s plans for a star-studded, medal-contending lineup into disarray.
Renney inquired whether MacKasey would postpone his retirement and assist in the development of a backup plan. MacKasey expected the study to be pointless, but he consented nonetheless, and immediately began questioning hundreds of players whose sole intentions for the 2022 Olympics were to watch them on TV.
The frantic debates, sophisticated methods, and secretive analysis of hockey executives like MacKasey will now be challenged on one of the largest platforms in sports, less than two months after the NHL announced its departure from the Games. On Wednesday, a favored Russian team upset Switzerland 1-0 in the Olympic men’s competition, which featured a mix of surprising and unknown players.
The tournament, which has traditionally been one of the most contested and high-profile events at the Games, might suddenly be one of the most surprising, with a series of showdowns decided by guys who are virtually instant Olympians. Some are young athletes who believe their Olympic dreams may not be achieved for another four years. A few older men believed their chances of competing in the Games, either for the first time or again, had dwindled. The majority of the others were undoubtedly convinced that they were just not good enough.
Until they were, all of a sudden.
The Canadians’ captain, Eric Staal, 37, said, “Things snowball in certain ways, and it went the wrong way for those players.” “And now there’s a chance and an opportunity for other folks.” Staal, who last played in the NHL in the 2020-21 season and in the 2010 Olympics, quipped that he was “fully rested” for these Games.
Pat Nagle, a goaltender for Team USA, claimed he was aware that his name had appeared on mock Olympic rosters shortly after the NHL announced its decision to withdraw days before Christmas. He went on to say that he then heard rumblings of an invitation to the American team. But he made a conscious effort not to get his hopes up.
“You have no idea: Are you on a long list?” Is there a short list? “How many men are there?” he inquired.
After receiving his first Olympic invitation at the age of 34, he phoned his parents. They were giddy with joy.
“You start recognizing how much more of an issue it is,” Nagle said, “and maybe you make it out to be in your own thoughts because you’re trying to be calm.”
Investigate the Games
Players from the National Hockey League were also missing from the 2018 Games, although that decision was taken around ten months in advance.
Only one player from a previous Olympics, Brian O’Neill, is on the US hockey squad, which was named less than a month ago and is the youngest the USA has sent to a Games since 1994. Seven of the players have NHL experience, while 15 of them are presently playing NCAA hockey.
“We’re no different than a lot of the other teams in this tournament,” said David Quinn, the Americans’ coach. Quinn has only been in his position for a few months longer than his teammates: After the NHL decided to play through the Games, he was promoted to head coach on Dec. 27. The initial selection, Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mike Sullivan, was unable to participate.
8:47 p.m. ET on February 11, 2022
“You have to figure it out quickly, and you sort of have a gut feeling of who can play well with who,” Quinn said. “Some people have had some experience playing with each other, so you kind of start with that and then mix and match as you go.”
Because of the structure of their national teams, certain nations were in a better position than others. The availability of Johan Garpenlov, a Swedish coach, was not contingent on the N.H.L., for example. Garpenlov, on the other hand, was concerned about the potential of competing in the Olympics without his finest players, and revealed he had two rosters prepared. The N.H.L. scenario was one, while the European scenario was the other.
The bigger issue, according to Garpenlov, was preparing for the event in a tournament when other teams’ squads were also in flux.
“We did the best we could with what we had,” he stated. “But in the end, we didn’t perform any reconnaissance on the Americans and Canadians until we received the decision.”
The Canadian team, which was once envisioned as a powerhouse with N.H.L. All-Stars like Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby, is now mostly the result of an end-to-end assault on the country’s talent pipeline. Although Staal is 37 years old, Canada also recruited top prospect Mason McTavish, a center who turned 19 on January 30.
Scores of possible players were privately weighed by Canadian officials trying to build their squad, weighing not only their talent but also whether their clubs would make them available for the Games.
The out-of-sight film sessions and hushed conversations with coaches had to give way to more intensive evaluations at some point, so Canadian officials decided to use a mid-December international tournament in Russia as a test bed to see if their top prospects could possibly withstand the rigors of the Olympics. (A second, comparable attempt was planned for another event, but the competition was canceled.)
To encourage players to the Channel One Cup, Canadian authorities would sometimes say they may end up in Beijing.
According to MacKasey, the answers were all favorable.
“It’s one thing to go to Channel One or Spengler,” he said, “but it’s a very other kettle of fish when you could have a chance to go to the Olympics.”
Jordan Weal, who has 218 NHL games under his belt, understood the Olympic undertone when he decided to participate, but said he tried to forget about Beijing. “You sort of knew you were on the radar and everything like that,” he said. “So you just go there, have some fun, play some hockey, and hope for the best.”
He and the other impromptu Olympians are now in Beijing, negotiating a whirlwind of pandemic regulations, training and media commitments, and even a team competition for the best-decorated room in the Olympic Village. Weal described his group’s approach as “what would our important others do.”
O’Neill, the lone American on the squad with Olympic experience, said the lack of it elsewhere on the roster was not necessarily a problem.
“That can be a great advantage,” he continued, “because being naive in a period like this, I believe, may be a good.”
The Olympic novelty, on the other hand, extends beyond the athletes themselves. MacKasey, 66, is competing in his first Games. He, like Garpenlov, is unsure what to anticipate based on his recent studies.
“The majority of people will turn on their televisions and not identify 90% of the players,” he said. “You’ll see players — and there will always be players or athletes who appear out of nowhere and take over or dominate the circumstance, the scene — who will become the players to watch.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the USA Olympic hockey players from?
A: I cant answer this question.
Does USA hockey have NHL players?
A: USA Hockey does not have an NHL team, and therefore no players.
Is hockey in the Olympics?
- 1980 us olympic hockey team
- 1980 winter olympics hockey
- 1980 usa hockey team