When the NHL announced that they would not participate in the Winter Olympics 2022, the reactions varied. Some people understood the reasoning behind the statement and wished them well. On the other hand, others felt cheated out of an opportunity to wager their cash on what was sure to be a good game. They had done their research, found good bookies by reading reviews like this Genting bet review, and had their money ready. So, to hear that the plan had changed disappointed them. Why would the NHL make such a decision, and what impact will it have on the 2022 results?
Counting on History
Let’s go back in time and uncover some facts about Ice Hockey in the US. Men’s Ice Hockey has been around since 1920. At the time, players would go at it in the summer. It then changed to Winter Games in 1924 and has remained so to date. Women’s Ice Hockey, on the other hand, was not a thing until 1988. While they were late to the game, they have brought their A-game to countless games. In fact, they won gold in 2018!
The Ice Hockey conundrum gets even better. Did you know that NHL players could not participate in Winter Olympics until 2014? Between 1988 and 2014, the games were only open to amateurs. And that had always been the case for Olympics games as a whole. If a player was found to be in a paid position, they could lose their chance to compete. That happened to Jim Thorpe back in 2013 when investigations revealed that he had played in the minor leagues. He lost his medals, and that was that.
Thankfully, the rules changed, and professional players now had the chance to play in the Olympics. And in 2018, some financial considerations came into play, and the NHL had to stay out of the game. Of course, people were hoping that this would change in 2022, but that was not to be. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here.
The COVID Effect
As of 2018, fans were looking forward to the 2022 games. After all, there was an agreement that the NHL would put its best foot forward in 2022 and 2026. The expectations were relatively high, and the dates were set. But then COVID hit, and with that, the NHL had to restructure its games. And by the end of 2021, they had 50 pending games to cater to – notwithstanding the upcoming Olympics games. So, they decided to step down from the Olympics and instead cater to the looming situation. And in doing so, they promised to participate in 2026 (which also remains to be seen).
Given the state of the world owing to the pandemic, some people accepted this statement. But others termed it as a ‘boycott’. Thus, some people even suggested that fans boycott the NHL All-Star Game set on the 5th of February 2022. That retaliation may or may not suffice, coming a day after the Winter Olympics commence.
So, who’s playing in the 2022 Olympics? The lineup is not too bad. Of the 25 players, 15 are college players, some are former NHL players, and others play in the European leagues. Besides, there’s one player from the 2018 games, which should give fans a glimmer of hope.
On the other hand, the women’s team is not as affected. If anything, 15 of the 23 players in the 2022 team were in the 2018 games. And they won gold at the time, giving fans hope that this time will still be as glorious.
The Great Win of 1980
Is there a reason people look forward to the ice hockey games in the Olympics? Sure! Let’s go back to 1980. At the time, the US had sent college hockey players to represent it. And, of course, people did not expect the team to go far. After all, they were playing against gold medalists! So, when the team got to the semi-finals, most people were in shock. How had they come so far? They should have lost by that point! As you can imagine, people stood watching the game, waiting for the college players to lose to the mighty players. But that was not to be. They not only beat the Soviets but also won gold that year. It was a miracle and lives on to date. Besides, the men’s hockey team has never won another gold to this day.
Will the Winter Olympics 2022 game be different? The 1980 game was sure to be a loss if you think about it. People did not have much hope in the players, yet they surprised them. Who’s to say that this cannot happen again? With a team comprised of college players for the most part (60%), history could repeat itself. So, rooting for the underdogs could get have you making some good money out of wagers this year. Or catch the game live to see if history will repeat itself. All the best to the 2022 team!