Four years ago, hockey fans all across the country woke up early on a Saturday morning to watch what would become an epic Olympic hockey game between the United States and Russia.
The game was tied 2-2 after overtime. While NHL rules allow each player on a team to shoot only once, international rules say a player can take multiple shots after the first three rounds of the shootout. Current Capitals winger T.J. Oshie scored four times, including the game winner in the EIGHTH round of the shootout.
To this day it was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen. Let’s all just forget about how Team USA finished in hockey in Sochi though. But come February at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, there won’t be nearly as many familiar faces on the ice.
No Patrick Kane, no Jack Eichel, no Phil Kessel. And no T.J. Oshie. Sigh.
Back in April, the NHL announced the league will not be participating in the Olympics this year and will not leave a break in the schedule to allow players to go to South Korea. NHL players have been allowed to partake in the Olympics in every games since 1998, but it looks like things are changing for the foreseeable future.
In response, the NHLPA has stated players are “extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree” with the league’s decision. Instead, the team will be made up of former NHL players, AHL players, college hockey players and Americans playing professionally in Europe.
As sad as it will be to miss our favorite NHLers, remember that the 1980 Miracle on Ice team was all made up of amateur college students. The roster will be announced during Monday’s NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York City. The team will be coached by current University of Wisconsin head coach, Tony Granato, and NHL legend Chris Chelios will serve as an assistant coach. No NHL players doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be excited. There are surely stars in college and the AHL who are set to show their stuff on a much larger stage.
Get that countdown started because we only have a little over two months until what we hope is more thrilling Olympic hockey!