2018 Winter Olympics: No NHL Players Creates New Dream Teams

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 18: Claude Giroux /

Maybe the NHL not sending players to the 2018 Winter Olympics could be a good thing. Especially for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Claude Giroux was not selected for the 2014 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. It was a slap in the face for the Philadelphia Flyers captain, and Giroux made it known that he would make the 2018 Winter Olympics team.

Unfortunately for him, the NHL will not be sending players to the 2018 Olympics. While I think  Giroux is indeed one of the best players in the world, I am glad he is not going for the gold. I have my reasons, and they involve my son, Kurt Russell, and silver.

Best Present Ever

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Smart kid that he is, my son bought me my ultimate chick flick, Miracle, for Christmas.  No matter how many times I watch that movie, I still tear up when I hear “Do you believe in miracles? YES!!”. In 1980, I was a young girl completely in love with the Flyers. Watching that US Olympic Team beat the Soviet Russians against all odds, that was the beginning of my love affair with the game of hockey itself. That love affair continues to this day.

Fast forward to 2018, and my son is now watching the Flyers games with me. He is falling for the game the same way I did, and for the same reasons. Hockey is, simply put, the most exciting game on the planet. Bone rattling checks, sweet passes, mind-boggling saves and goals so dirty they should take the Tide Pod challenge. All of this at a pace that can make the steadiest of hearts swoon.

Now that my son is into my sport and team of choice, I am looking forward to sharing the Winter Olympics with him, especially since the NHL will not be sending any players. Yes, you read that correctly, I am glad that there will be no professional hockey players at the Olympics.

Dream Teams

Having watched Miracle about 20 times since Christmas, I yearn for a group of unknowns to win the gold. Kids who have been dreaming about representing their countries proudly. I was reminded during these many viewings that the Olympics are supposed to be about amateurs, not grown men who make millions of dollars to play a game.

In the final moments of the movie, Kurt Russell, as Herb Brooks, does a voice over talking about Dream Teams. About how we seldom get to dream since the Olympics began allowing professionals. Both hit the nail on the head. As humans, we do need to dream more often.  The dreams inspired by youth. By the next Silkie and Rizzo, not Giroux, Crosby, and McDavid.

If you have not watched Miracle, do yourself a favor and take the time. For that matter, do one better and go to YouTube and watch the actual footage of the Miracle on Ice. You will see the wonder that was amateurs in the Olympics. When that group of young men beat the heavily favored Russians, they could not control themselves.

The celebration was epic, a celebration borne from youth, enthusiasm, and a dream that burned deep within each one of them. The Russian team stood on the ice when time ran out, stunned by their loss and in awe of the exuberant celebration of the Americans. People watched the game even though a good number of them already knew the outcome.

You don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.

The NHL season is 82 games long. I watch every Flyers game and as many other games as my hectic life allows. There is no doubt in my mind that the NHL is the cream of the crop.  Players that have natural talent that has been honed by years and years of practice.

They have everything that money can buy; million dollar homes, the best equipment, cars that are worth more than my house. What money cannot buy are dreams. NHL players are living the dreams of their youth, yet there is often a lack of passion evident in the league. Perhaps the reality does not live up to the dream, maybe the game is, like any other job, done day in and day out, becoming mundane.

While I understand that an Olympic Gold Medal might spark that enthusiasm in the professional players of the NHL, I have to wonder if that is that what the Olympics should represent. The 1980 Russian Team was made of professionals, and it was the thought of unknown, amateur players up against the machine produced by the Soviet Red Army that transformed the events of February 22, 1980 into a true blue Miracle. Is it fair to mortgage the dreams of youth to pad the medal count? To spark the passion in professionals?

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The NHL All-Star Game is this weekend, and that is where professional All-Stars belong. So with apologies to Claude Giroux, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the best of the best, please bask in the glow of that game, and leave the Olympics to the kids. I want a Miracle, regardless of the flag that is raised or the anthem that is played. And on a personal note to Mr. Giroux, I would like you, sir, to dream of a Silver Cup, not a gold medal.