National Hockey League
Regner: Olympics make no dollars or sense for NHL
National Hockey League

Regner: Olympics make no dollars or sense for NHL

Published Feb. 23, 2014 2:06 p.m. ET

It doesn't take a hockey sage to figure out what occurred on the ice at the Sochi Games.

The best team won the gold, and the best game was played between two teams that didn't even medal.

But what happens in 2018, when the Games will be played in PyeongChang, South Korea, is anybody's guess.

Forget about the 14-hour time difference between Detroit and PyeongChang. Serious hockey fans will tune in because Olympic hockey has become must-see every four years.


Where else can you watch the best players in the world compete? Oh yeah, the NHL.

That's why I'm convinced that NHL owners are at the end of the Olympic experiment. As great as the Olympic tournament has been, it hasn't significantly increased the owners' revenue or improved the league's TV ratings.

There's not much of an incentive to close your business for 2 1/2 weeks and allow your best players to participate in an intense 12-day tournament, with a challenging schedule, and receive nothing or very little in return -- except for an injured player or two.

That's the bottom line: The Olympics just don't make dollars and sense anymore.

If you examine Sochi tournament, the Canadian onslaught, though impressive, wasn't the flash-and-dash dominance that attracts new fans.

While our neighbors to the north swell with pride that their hockey heroes brought home the gold, Team Canada scored only 17 goals in six games, and seven of them were by two defensemen.

The United States had 20 goals in four games heading into the medal round, and despite being shut out for two straight games, was the most entertaining team and the talk of the tournament before its meltdown.

This isn't sour grapes because I wanted the USA to win the whole thing. I applaud Canada for their flawless execution.

Giving up only three total goals is an incredible accomplishment. However, Canada's impressive gold run wasn't memorable.

The lasting image of the Sochi Games will be the shootout between the United States and Russia. That game had everything that mattered: scoring, controversy and a dramatic ending.

There are 24 NHL teams in the United States. How many Americans got up early on Sunday to watch the gold-medal game between Sweden and Canada?

The answer is easy -- not very many.

Honestly, the Sochi Games did little to enhance the game of hockey, unless you were already a fan.

NHL owners are astute, and the "high risk and no reward" of Olympic hockey defies their hardcore business principles.

Once the owners get their way and Olympic hockey and the NHL relationship is severed, players will be outraged and cite national pride, blaming the owners of being greedy and unpatriotic.

Owners will remind the players that they pay them millions of dollars and that loyalty is a two-way street.

Once you bring money into the conversation, it's a language that everybody understands.

Goodbye, Olympic hockey with NHL involvement. It was fun, but not profitable.


Get more from National Hockey League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more