Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Reflect on Missed Olympics Opportunity

Every four years, the Winter Olympics provides the world an opportunity to see the best of the best in hockey representing their countries and playing in the most talented international tournament there is. The last time that was true in Men’s hockey was in 2014. And unfortunately, it looks like it will stay that way.

With the NHL and NHLPA’s announcement that players will not be heading to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics all but official, the chance for some players to make their first, last, or maybe only trip to the Olympics looks off the table for another year. For the Chicago Blackhawks, this means players like Patrick Kane, Seth Jones, Alex DeBrincat, Marc-André Fleury, Dominik Kubalík, and Philipp Kurashev, all of who had legitimate shots to play for their home nations in the Olympics, won’t get that chance for 2022.

While he wasn’t in the running for a spot on the 2022 Canadian roster, Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews knows what it’s like to play in an Olympic tournament and come away with Gold. He did it twice. But it won’t likely happen again for him.  Toews spoke of the league’s decision to pause the season and to pull participation from the Beijing Games.

As for Patrick Kane, a two-time Olympian himself with Team USA, he misses an opportunity to not only be a star once again for the U.S., but also likely in a leadership role.

The U.S. has not won Gold in Men’s hockey at the Olympics since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. They took home Silver at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics, with Kane as part of the 2010 team. With the crop of players the U.S would have had to choose from, there was plenty of optimism that Team USA would not only medal for the first time since 2010, but could even be a Gold Medal favorite.

Unfortunately, that dream will now likely be placed upon the shoulders of the “Plan B” players for Team USA. “Plan B” for the Men’s Olympic Games would include players not on NHL contracts, like it did in 2018.

Kane has the idea to move hockey to the Summer Olympics, which would then not interfere with the NHL schedule, but would feel completely out of place and would put players who are on summer vacation into one of the most intense two-week tournaments in the world.

One idea that had been floated around was the return of the World Cup of Hockey, which was last held prior to the 2016-17 season. It was a major success in 2016, but again poses an inconvenience, albeit smaller than the Olympics, to the regular season schedule. It would be worth considering bringing back the World Cup of Hockey tournament because it can be controlled by the NHL and NHLPA, and we could see the return of Team Europe, made up of the best players from countries too small to have their own major national team, and Team North America, made of the best U.S. and Canadian players 23-and-younger.

Nevertheless, it will be a disappointment to not see the best of the NHL and the best of the Blackhawks playing at this year’s Winter Olympics once again.

written by

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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