With over half the world’s population tuning in to watch, the Olympic Games is the greatest sporting event in the world.
The Games bring people together from many different countries and all sorts of backgrounds, having them put aside their hate and differences for some healthy competition. For 16 days, everything else is forgotten when the Olympic Games bring the world together.
There are not many if any athletes in the world who would tell you they do not dream of going to the Olympics. For many, going to the Olympics is something they have aspired to ever since they were little. In addition to accomplishing their dreams, these athletes would make a name for themselves in households across the world opening themselves up to sponsorship deals and endorsements. With fame and notoriety brings money, sometimes amounts that many of these athletes have only dreamed about.
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A close friend of mine was drafted into the National Hockey League his first semester of college in the 3rd round as the 74th overall pick. Three and a half years later, he is playing in his first season in the NHL.
Recently, he had to decide whether to finish his last semester of college and then go pro or leave college early for the NHL in hopes of being considered for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. After much consideration, he decided to go pro. My friend knew he had a shot on the 2018 Olympic team and he did not want to wait till 2022 to make his dream come true.
Ever since he was a little boy, he had dreamed of going to the Olympics and representing his country. It was always something that inspired him to work his hardest every day so that he could the best forward he could be.
This was a dream that was put on hold as of a few weeks ago when the NHL made a choice not to allow their players to go to the Pyeongchang Games. One of the biggest factors in the decision? The NHL is opposed to taking a 17-day break in the middle of their season.
The NHL is only looking at this situation from one side, theirs. A side where they lose money sending their players to the Olympics. Team owners and executives believe that allowing their players to go would put their greatest money making assets at risk. However, they are forgetting that their players are losing money as well by not attending the Olympics. That is why many top players have spoken out about how upsetting it is that they are not allowed to go. Some players have even said that they are going whether the league allows them to or not.
It is disappointing to see that a league can choose revenue over the tradition of the Olympics. In recent years, the Olympics has had some of the best hockey the league has seen played.
That is why this situation cannot be looked at from one viewpoint. It needs to be considered from more than one angle because depending on the way you look at it, sending their players to the Olympics could have future financial benefits for the NHL.
About the Author: Megan Winkhaus is a Junior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas studying Sports Management and Communications. Megan loves sports and hopes to work as a Corporate Communications Manager for a professional sports team. You can follow Megan on Twitter @Megzwink13.