Winners and Losers From No NHL Olympic Participation

Team Canada (Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports)
Team Canada (Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 28: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs   (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

Loser:  The All Star Game

There are of course more losers than winners in all of this, and one that might have skated under the radar, but is still a loser is the All Star Game.

Due to be played in Las Vegas, the All Star Weekend has always been a fantastic event for the non-diehard hockey fan. The actual All Star games have rarely been interesting for any of the serious fans, but the skills competition is regularly a hit.

Yet with no NHL participation for the Olympics with the rising COVID cases a source of concern and the quarantine fallout that follows, how can the NHL justify hosting a game where 40 or so different players from all over the continent converge on one place.

It makes no sense, and the potential for that to be super-spreader event is not something to be ignored.

A major loser in this is the NHL, but more so is ESPN who have just wrestled the rights to hockey and the All Star Game back. This was their time to put on a show and draw viewers to their channel but how can it be justified?

ESPN will not want to lose that balloon of revenue yet the league is experiencing a massive issue with COVID absences. So much so that people are starting to call into question the sporting integrity of the game that is being played. At what point does it become uneven and unfair?

The New York Islanders were forced to play when severely depleted due to COVID and it was barely an even fight. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and many more are all without several crucial players.

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The risk of flying in players from every hockey city becomes far more tricky to justify when the Olympic involvement has reportedly been cancelled for the same types of issues.