Is Team Canada’s Off-Ice Olympic Pow-wow Really Worth It?


Nov 6, 2012; Sochi, RUS; An exterior view of Shayba Arena with workers on the roof during construction preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

We all know what a few days of golf and talking puck can do for one’s psyche.  But when it comes down to building team chemistry with hopes of preparing Canada’s best to battle for bragging rights in Sochi, what good does it really do?

Of the 47 players invited to the dude’s getaway, only half will make the first cut. So what really is the point to bonding when half of the crew won’t be coming back? At no point will any of them touch the ice. They are preparing for the Winter Olympics, right? To play ice hockey, correct?

According to, because of the high cost of insurance, invitees will be limited to some off-ice workouts and maybe some golf on the side. Players like Sidney Crosby would obviously like to skate, but still find some benefit to the workouts and meetings. Coaches feel the same way.  Honestly, you can talk strategy until you are blue in the face, but perhaps what the players won’t be doing because they are in Calgary may be more detrimental. But what is the face of hockey and Team Canada for that matter, supposed to say, that he thinks it’s a waste of time?

Guys like Ryan Getzlaf feel the week away from their own teams training routines is more costly then not meeting to prepare for the Olympics. He hits it right on the head. These guys are professional athletes. They all know the game of hockey and when asked to compete for their country should be able to just fine.  These few days away from the ice aren’t needed in the long run.

January 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman addresses the National Hockey League lockout during a press conference at the Westin New York in Times Square. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s up to Steve Yzerman and his coaching staff to pick the players with the most heart and desire to bring Canada gold, and they can do that by scouting how these guys play for their own NHL clubs in real games come October. They certainly aren’t going to be determining team chemistry while on the golf course this week in Alberta.

So now 47 invitees who most likely play key roles on their own NHL squads, who start training camp in a few weeks, will be off the ice for four days, not preparing for the NHL season that is soon upon them.

I’m surprised more GM’s and coaches not participating in the Sochi games aren’t being more vocal about just how much of a waste of time this week in Calgary seems to be.

Regardless, the next 4 days of meetings, bocce ball, whatever it might entail are in full swing whether the players, or their respective teams like it or not. We’ll have to wait and see just how much the pow-wow helps Canada win gold in February.

Is the 4-day hiatus from the ice really going to help Team Canada come February? Tweet me @ArbuckleTV or @tmmots with your thoughts!