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Bettman would prefer World Cup to Olympics

Nov 11, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

If it were up to Gary Bettman — and we suppose it is, partly — the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia would be the last time in the foreseeable future that NHL players would participate in the Olympics.

Instead, the NHL commissioner would prefer the world’s top players compete for international supremacy at a league-sanctioned World Cup.

Bettman was speaking today at a sports marketing conference in Toronto.

Following are tweets from reporters covering the event:

Bettman’s comments were not a huge surprise. The conventional wisdom says the Sochi Olympics will indeed be the last time that the NHL sends players to participate, at least for quite some time.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a country that won’t have the draw for the league’s players that Sochi did for outspoken Russian stars like Alex Ovechkin.

Wrote NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to PHT: “It’s our joint intention (NHL and NHLPA) to assess the experience in Sochi before even considering whether to continue with Olympic participation going forward.”

  1. ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    who plays in the Olympics for teams like Canada and the US if NHL players aren’t allowed? Juniors? AHL/ECHL? just curious. It would make the olympics more interesting if more teams have a chance to win than just Canada/US/Russia/Sweden/Finland.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      maybe we could see a little more interest in hockey from places like the UK, Norway and France if their Olympic teams actually have a chance to win something (or even qualify, in the case of the UK and France)

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        I’m from the UK and that would be a dream come true to watch Gb vs usa or canada. * even tho they would get slaughtered*

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        hey man, gotta start somewhere. as I understand it, Europe LOVES their olympics. you get a team from GB upsetting another national team, think what that does for the sport over there. I welcome it.

    • khudobinawesome - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Minor leagues would have the same chance against other minor league teams. Canada/US/Russia/Sweden/Finland would still be top teams… Russia more notably since they now have a draw from the KHL.

    • joey4id - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      There are many Canadian and American players playing in EU leagues who would be legible to play for the national team. No way would it be players from the juniors. I doubt a player playing for an NHL affiliate team would be released by their team to play in the Olympics. I think the selected players would have to make a commitment to their nations team 2 years before the Olymipic so they can train and play together for some time before showing up.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        have any idea who any of those players may be, for the US/Canada for instance? I can’t think of a whole lot of N.American former-NHLers playing abroad.

        only reason I said Juniors is because, wasn’t that who used to play Olympics? like the 1980 gold team was all juniors and college, correct? (I wasn’t quite born yet lol)

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Actually there’s an idea being floated around (I believe by Hockey Canada) that if the NHL players aren’t at the Olympics then they would be replaced by junior players who would play in that instead of having a World Junior tournament those years. Making it a U-23 tournament like men’s soccer at the Olympics.

        I’m guessing the IOC and many countries would prefer that over having a glorified Spengler Cup roster.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        see, I’d rather watch that too. the World Juniors is probably my favorite non-NHL event to watch, I’d love to see the same kids with higher stakes/bigger crowds.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        not “rather” than the NHL’ers, I mean. I’d RATHER see them in it. but if they aren’t, I’d rather have Juniors than the NHL rejects.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      so many thumbs downs, so few answers. thanks a**holes.

      • joey4id - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        It would make sense to replace the pros with the best junior players in the world if the NHL decides not to participate. But! why would these teams want to sent their best players to Pyeongchang, South Korea? Junior hockey is a big business. Will owners be willing to put the olympics ahead of their business ventures? Perhaps if there is a lot of money being paid to those owners from the IIHF.

    • c9castine - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      my point is an always has been that olympics are about the best athletes in the world and for each country participating in the events.

      professional or not, these are the best players and thus should be the ones competing.

      who is gary bettman to decide if these people stay or go? contract or not.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        yeah but that’s simply not true. the NHL didn’t allow their players in the Olympics plenty of times, including before Bettman. think Miracle on Ice. in fact, with a bit of research, I think in the modern era, the NHL only participated since like 94.

    • joey4id - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      1980 USA team was made of all college players, BU, Bowling Green, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth,North Dakota, & Wisconsin. The Canadian team was made up of players who had completed their junior Career. In other words they entered the National Team program. Ages went from 20 to 30 with one player being 40.

  2. amityvillefun - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Bettman sucks. Please go away Gary. The fact that you put your unworthy hands on the Cup for the photos makes me sick.

    This guy is nothing more than a greedy and pathetic little weasel. Please, go ruin another sport and leave hockey forever. Fans boo you every time you show your face….when will you get the hint?

    • joey4id - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      You may dislike the man, I may dislike him as well, but the fact remains that under him, the league revenues grew from $400 million when he was hired to over $3.0 billion in 2010–11. Not bad! Eh!

      • amityvillefun - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        I’m sure other suits could do the job just as well without being a douche about it and leading the NHL into lockouts. It’s just really time for him to go. There has to be a nursing home that will take him.

        I hope the nurses forget to change his diaper.

  3. bcsteele - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Go away Bettman

  4. jwalsh217 - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    He also said their adding teams in Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican

  5. bleedingteal4life - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Hey what about Jamaica?!? They can bobsled but can’t play hockey!?!?

  6. stepanup - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    The Commish opens his mouth and the fans are instantly angered. Brings me right back to last year.

    The phrasing of Cotsonika’s question used the magic word, it’s all about what Gary can control. Calling it a goodwill gesture to the players is pathetic, we all learned last year there’s no such thing.

  7. uhnoreally - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Bettman doesn’t like the $ filtered thru the Olympics. And I would’nt either if I was him.

  8. westinpat - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Why does Bettman sound like a child who won’t share his toys with anyone in the sandbox?

    Pretty sure the world holds the Olympics in a higher respect then the NHL. It’s about the best athletes competing against each and for their countries. You’d think he’d wants “his” players showing off what kind of talent the NHL has to the world.

    • amityvillefun - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Greed, greed, greed. Control.

      Put him in charge and the Olympics would go into a lockout. Either that or he’d say the gold medals are too expensive…why don’t we just paint them gold and save some money for ourselves? Right Gary Greed? All about the money.

  9. blomfeld - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:13 PM


    Notwithstanding these ‘incendiary’ photos which PHT seems to have a penchant for, I remain convinced that the majority of NHL hockey fans understand and appreciate the ‘value’ which Gary Bettman has brought to our beloved game of hockey. As Joey accurately notes above, anyone who increases revenues in a business by a factor of “8” in less than twenty years is hardly an idiot. On the contrary, such a person can only be a visionary and a ‘true’ captain of commerce who ought to be praised and celebrated. As for Sochi, I too suspect that this venture into the Caucasus’ will be the NHL’s last … at least for the foreseeable future.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      What have other leagues gone up in that same time frame? Without looking I feel quite certain that NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and Euro soccer have seen their numbers go up by at least that much, in some cases much more in that same period. This isn’t a hockey phenomenon but instead a sports industry wide phenomenon. Bettman isn’t responsible for this but rather society’s lust for sports is, Bettman is just the blind squirrel who found the nut.

    • hawkeedawg - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      20 years ago, anyone could afford to take their kids to see their Idols, today, almost nobody can afford it.

      Thanks Gary

      • hawkeedawg - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        ^^This was supposed to be in response to Blomfeld

  10. mattyo99 - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    I miss the Canada Cup..

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      Those who have seen the 1987 Final between Canada and the USSR generally agree it’s the best 3 game set of hockey we’ve ever been treated to. Among the many gems: Canada’s first PP unit, including their goalie, was 6 future Hall of Famers.

  11. nj666 - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I dont agree with him at all, but i predict that there will be some shady happenings with hockey teams going on in russia this year.

  12. 19to77 - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    And I’d prefer someone else as Commissioner. Shame it’s not that easy.

  13. hockeyflow33 - Nov 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    This is all about money. The NHL can dictate revenue sharing for the World Cup but can’t for the Olympics.

    I’ve never heard anyone who likes hockey say anything other than that they love watching these Olympic games. They’re all-star games with effort.

  14. gettingpwned - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    We get it. The NHL doesn’t want to shut down for 2 weeks. But an NHL sanctioned world cup will never get as much attention (press) that the Olympics gets. And they need the press more.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      I agree, with an exception. The time zone mess we’ll have from Sochi will mean live games in overnight hours, or watching delayed games you’ve heard the scores from. Ugh. Next W.Olympics will have the same problem. N.American venues fix that problem.
      But an NHL World Cup could mean banning non-NHL stars, which would suck. We old farts recall WHA-bound Bobby Hull being banned from the classic 1972 Summit Series. He was at his playing peak, and that sucked.
      Some will disagree, I’m sure, but with the exception of the 1980 Miracle, without NHL players, most Olympic hockey tournaments have been pretty forgettable. The Olympics present to us the best in the world in skating, skiing, etc., but for hockey it would revert to juniors. Exciting, but nowhere near the best.

  15. bbk1000 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Gary Bettman, hockey fan…….

    I tried, it just doesn’t work….haha

  16. jesse716 - Nov 14, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    if you look back to the 1992 and 1994 winter Olympics the last two.before nhl players could play canada and usa were made up of players from the defunct ihl and junior players. for example in 1992 team usa goalie ray leblanc playednl in the ihl but was overall the best goaltender in the tournament leading the us to a 4th place finish,canada had a young eric lindros and went on to take silver most european teams like the Czechoslovakia,the unified team(soviets)were comprised of home based players as many european players still didnt defect to north america yet. in 1994 same thing except canada had a young paul kariya and corey hirsch sweden had forsberg the americans with a disappointing 8th place finish had the likes of peter laviolette and mike dunham so in all they were far from “nhl rejects” just minor leaguers and amateurs who busted their ass for their countries and pride. team usa always had a preolympic tour and the team bonded not just thrown together like todays games and given one practice so if in 2018 it goes back to the days of 92 and 94 thwn so be it but if you dont watch because the nhl players arent there then shame on you for missing out on potentially some very good hockey.

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