Some NHL players looked for loopholes to participate in Olympics

On this edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discuss Canadian teams playing at home without fans, AHL players that could possibly go to the Olympics and the latest news from the CHL.

Desperate to somehow find a way to go to the Winter Olympics, some NHL players considered options that included temporarily retiring or asking to be put on waivers in order to participate, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins was vocal in his criticism of the decision by the NHL and the NHLPA to not participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing because of the rise of global COVID-19 infections, and Friedman said that sentiment was not unique.

“I was just talking to a couple of other players and they told me one of the things, just to give you an idea of how they felt about it, one of the things a few of them asked was, ‘Could we retire or find some way to void our contracts, go play the Olympics and find a way to come re-sign?'” Friedman said during the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“And a couple of them said, could they retire and come back. They also asked, ‘Could we be in a situation where we could ask to be put on waivers for the purposes of termination and then come back after the Olympics and re-sign with our team?’

“One of them kind of laughed and said to me they were told, ‘You think the NHL is ever going to allow you to try anything like that? There is not a chance.'”

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.

The talk of finding any means necessary to participate underlines how passionate the players are about pursuing their Olympic dream.

“I just thought it was pretty interesting that that’s the kind of questions the players were asking, that’s how badly they wanted to play, they were trying to find any loophole they could to try to find a way to get overseas,” Friedman said. “But the NHL was wise to these kinds of plans.”

The NHL had originally scheduled an Olympic break for Feb. 7-22, but will now try to use open dates within that timeframe to reschedule games postponed because of a rise in positive COVID-19 test result among players.

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