Security is a major concern leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and Team Canada goaltender Mike Smith isn’t taking any chances.
The Phoenix Coyotes goalie told reporters Wednesday that he will not be taking his family with him to Sochi next month, saying that while he believes he will be safe, he doesn’t want to expose his wife and kids to unnecessary risk.
“They’re not gonna go. It’s not worth it,” Smith told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. “For myself, it’s about thinking if [my wife is] OK when I’m not with her. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is.”
These will be the first Olympic Games for Smith, who joins fellow goalies Roberto Luongo and Carey Price on a Canadian squad favored to defend the gold medal it won in Vancouver in 2010.
“From everything I’ve heard, the Olympic village will be very secure and once we’re over there, I’m sure everything will be fine,” Smith said. “But obviously with what’s gone on there leading up to the Olympics, there’s always some concern.
“The Olympics are supposed to be an exciting time, and one that so many athletes train so hard for. When there’s that extra baggage of security concerns and other things like that, it’s obviously frustrating.”
Russian officials are hunting down three potential suicide bombers, including one believed in be in Sochi. The State Department is telling those attending the games to remain attentive to personal security. President Barack Obama and other US lawmakers also have expressed serious concerns.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who will serve as an assistant on the Canada staff, said earlier this week that the security issues surrounding these Olympics have definitely crossed his mind.
“Well, I don’t think you can stand here and say there’s not concerns at all [about Sochi security],” Julien said, via ESPN.com. “You don’t like seeing what’s going on but there’s no doubt that what’s happened lately is certainly — they’re trying to obviously shake us and probably in a lot of cases they are succeeding. But that is the thing that we have to do: We have to try and fight through that.”
The men’s hockey tournament is set to begin Wednesday, Feb. 12.