Chicago, Il — This week it was announced that the NHLPA rejected the NHL proposal to go to the 2018 Olympics if the CBA was extended. What it did bring up again was the question will the NHL be going to the 2018 Olympics in PyeonChang, South Korea and should they?
The NHL & PA need to make a decision soon like early 2017. The BOG will be meeting to discuss in the coming weeks.
We all know that money makes the world go round and the financial costs for travel, insurance, injuries and shutting down the league mid-season are huge considerations. If the financial aspects of this gets straightened out and that is a big IF I can think of several reasons why the NHL should go.
The biggest of which is not since Marco Polo and his travels to the East has there been a bigger opportunity for the West to meet the East and exchange cultures.
Sports is a microcosm of cultures so why not share and see?
Marco Polo wrote his travel logs,which guess who read them and inspired him to travel? A Mr. Christopher Columbus and we all know how that turned out.
You never know what larger things may loom with the opportunity. The NHL can reach out to the world on a huge scale with the entire planet watching.
The NHL has a huge window to seize the moment to be the first North American professional league to show off their sport to Asia in winter games.
The NHL owners for the most part are businessmen.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell them the big picture of the potential audience here in what I call the penetration of the big three China, India & Japan to give them a taste of the greatest sport in the world.
China & India both have a population of 1.3 billion people. Yes that is correct billion. Korea has a smaller population of 50mil and Japan 126 mil. So we can all see the gigantic merchandising potential here in this area.
I don’t see how you can go to the Beijing 2022 Olympics but can’t go to Korea it sends a bad message and is disrespectful to Korea, and if there is one thing the East values it is respect.
Also how are financial considerations not in play for 2022 but they are for 2018?
Big picture you can see why any sports league would want to penetrate the Asia markets but why the NHL? How can hockey become popular in these non-traditional hockey countries?
Well there are a couple of reasons. Korea, Japan & China all have as their most popular sport and I’m not even sure I’d classify these as sports, Tae Kwan Do, Sumo wrestling & Martial Arts respectively.
China is big into board games like chess and they like ping pong but team games maybe baseball or soccer but as you can see this is wide open.
The one thing is Martial Arts demands speed and agility. It also does not matter what size a person is to be good in Martial Arts. What North American sport has speed, agility and size is not a consideration? Hockey.
With the NHL moving more towards speed and skill and having smaller players now more than ever it has never been a more appealing game to entice the East. If you value roundhouse kicks I’m sure you can appreciate spin-o-rama’s or just the pure speed and power of the game.
As a huge Bruce Lee fan (he also tried to bridge East & West) he incorporated all styles of Martial Arts including Tae Kwan Do into his no style, style Jeet Kune Do, which is based on fluidity of motion, improvisation and speed to drive power. Kind of sounds like hockey.
Another reason to go is the current players are getting older and may not be able to go to the 2022 Olympics so this will be some players last chance to play on the biggest stage for their country so you know all the players want to go. Ovi you are not alone trust me.
You know the coaches and fans along with the players want to see them go. It really is just the owners that don’t want this.
As a fan I want to see Team USA represented with Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Parise ect. For some of these players this maybe their last time to go.
Now the other complaint is the time differential I believe Korea is 15hrs ahead of Chicago time so 14hrs ahead of NY and 17hrs ahead of LA.
Granted that is not ideal but let’s be real NHL fans are loyal and nuts. I say that lovingly because I am one. I would wake up at 3-5AM to see Team USA and I’m sure Canadians would as well to watch Team Canada.
Another reason to go isn’t the NHL’s broadcasting partner NBC sports carrying the 2018 Olympics? What better way to give back to one of your partners and have them highlight the NHL.
Bring in the ref cams and also I would suggest offering games being done on multi-cams and with option to take out the broadcast and just hear and experience the sounds of the ice. Honestly this game sells itself if you are into speed and skill.
Another objection is the three week stoppage of the NHL when they won’t be making money which is true but you have to look long term. What is three weeks if you can intrigue Asia? A mere drop in a vast ocean.
Injuries has also been given but honestly injuries can happen during the season so I would not use that as a reason.
Also the NHLPA did the World Cup for the league thus owners so time to repay and do something for the players and let them go to Korea if they want.
Lastly the best ambassadors I could think of to go to the East would be hockey players they are all so likeable and affable and skilled they will represent well to cultures that value politeness, respect and traditions.
The East believes in the collective. In other words what we do as individuals impacts the whole of humanity and isn’t that team sports?
Also the symbol being used by PyeongChang is one of ice and snow hum sounds hockey to me.
As a fan I really hope they go I will be tuned in no matter if the sun is rising in the East or setting in the West.
Video taken from YouTube opening scene of Enter the Dragon released in 1973 distributed through Warner Bros in the US, Producers Raymond Chow, JerryWeintraub, Bruce Lee & Paul Heller.