By abandoning the Olympics, the NHL has done Russia a favour

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EVER since 1998, when North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) began putting its season on hold to allow its players to participate in the Olympics, men’s ice hockey has been a signature sport at the winter games. Elite squads from Canada, the home country of nearly half of the players in the NHL, took gold medals in 2010 in Vancouver and 2014 in Sochi. And from 1998 to 2014, every men’s ice-hockey medal has gone to Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, or the United States—not coincidentally, the six countries best represented on NHL rosters.

For this year’s games in Pyeongchang, those half-dozen nations were forced to assemble their teams without their biggest stars. NHL owners, sceptical of the benefit they would reap from a tournament in South Korea at the expense of a mid-season break and injury risk to their players, forbade their charges to participate for the first time since the 1994 games. Four years…Continue reading

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