There’s an issue floating around a lot as of late regarding NHL players and Olympic money. The rule currently is that all Olympic athletes who participate in the games and win medals are compensated. The compensation essentially breaks down with gold medal winners taking home $20,000, silver medalists taking $15,000 and bronze medal winners getting $10,000.
Now, it’s no secret that the entire point of compensating Olympic medalists was to reward amateur athletes for their performance and to help generate some financial support for these guys and girls.
The question now appears to be whether or not professional athletes, those with the multi-million dollar salaries, should be eligible for those bonuses.
Of course, due to the fact that all Canadian athletes are eligible, it’s easy to say that the NHLers should be eligible for the money as well. In fact, it’d take a heck of an argument to pull out of that fairly obvious principle. The NHL players are not exempt from the other trappings of being an Olympic athlete and are entitled to the money, even if they do arrive to the events in BMWs and limos while other Olympic athletes are looking for a spot to park their bicycles and minivans.
Furthermore, the Olympic hockey team adheres to all of the other elements of the Olympic “agreement.” They stay in the Olympic village, for example, and are most certainly considered as Olympic athletes playing for Canada.
So the question really has to be, in fairness, should NHLers get the Olympic cash? Keith Jones, speaking on TSN, argued for the adjustment of this principle based on the notion that the money was meant for amateur athletes. Furthermore, Jones stated that he thought NHL players would be “embarrassed” to take the Olympic bonus money.
Bob McKenzie argued down a similar path, noting that the NHL athletes are indeed entitled to the money but that they should pile it up and donate it to other Canadian Olympians as a sort of show of goodwill.
It would certainly look good for our Canadian NHLers and millionaires to pitch forth a few small scraps of cash, should they win a medal, to the other athletes in the village. And it would also certainly stand with the “Canadian tradition” of humility if they were to do such a thing.
But it has to take a group effort to do so and, probably more important than a few tens of thousands, it has to take a medal win. While I certainly understand the focus on this sort of external issue, we can’t put the cart before the horse as Canadians in the world of competitive international hockey. That we are, as a nation of analysts and journalists, already examining what Canadian NHLers should do with medal money is a testament to our arrogance as a nation.
Winning money for medals is no sure thing for the Canadian men’s hockey team at the Olympics in Vancouver.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.