Several NHL stars have publicly lashed out at the NHL for pulling out of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Boston Bruins Brad Marchand, who would have represented Canada at the games, lashed out at the league for putting profits over letting their players represent their home countries.
“The NHL and NHLPA can change the rules of the [collective-bargaining agreement] to add a taxi squad so that they don’t miss any games and don’t lose any money,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Marchand explained that the players will pay back the owner’s losses in escrow, regardless of how many games are missed, until they are refunded for lost pandemic funds.
“Yet they can’t do a taxi squad during The Olympics so they can honor the agreement they made so the NHL players can go… please tell me that’s not bulls–t.”
He said it wasn’t a problem for players to forfeit pay while they competed on the world stage. “Let the players make their choice,” Marchand concluded.
Despite Marchland’s argument, the NHL and player’s association agreed that participation in the Winter Games was contingent on the COVID-19 conditions remaining manageable, but up to 80 games have already been postponed this season due to viral outbreaks amongst the league.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos remarked that NHL players were “robbed” of their chance to play at the South Korea Games in 2018, when the International Olympic Committee refused to pay for travel and insurance costs.
“Obviously this year with what’s going on in the world, it’s a little more understandable,” Stamkos commented. “But the last Olympics where we weren’t able to go because of different issues with the NHL, now it just stings even more knowing that for some of the older guys, this is probably their last chance.”
“These are opportunities and experiences of a lifetime that you don’t get very many of as an athlete, and you might only get one,” said Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, a two-time gold medalist for Canada. “It just might happen to fall in your window and if it doesn’t happen to work out, it’s unfortunate.”