Category Archives: 2016 Olympic Games


Dear Mr. Bettman,

I am a lifelong sports fan with the great game of hockey being my personal favorite.

As I watched the proceedings over the past two weeks in Rio I couldn’t help but think about our grand old game and the international stage.

This weekend in particular I saw professional athletes compete in basketball and soccer.  Yes, the USA men’s and women’s teams that were loaded with NBA and WNBA talent lead the way en route to gold medals.  Once again it was sport at its best, not college kids against “professionals” from nations lead by dictators.

Today’s bronze medal basketball game came down to the wire and was gripping.  It featured Australia and Spain, who also carried NBA talent.  The United States squad that dominated Serbia this afternoon almost lost to them earlier in the tournament.  The semi-final game against Spain was also close.

On the soccer pitch  both men’s and women’s play was even and spread among many teams.  Brazil’s men took gold in dramatic fashion as penalty kicks decided their match with Germany.  The American women were supposed to dominate, however they ran into a machine from Sweden, who almost beat Germany for gold.

All of this backdrop brings me to the point of this letter.

Imagine if the NBA, WNBA, and various soccer leagues were contemplating what you keep hinting at involving international play and the National Hockey League.

Once again there is talk of the NHL not sending players to Pyongyang in 2018.  What a colossal shame it would be!

Since professionals joined the Olympics in 1998 consider how the gold medal has been distributed.  Canada, who could never beat the Soviets with their amateurs, have won three times.  The Czech Republic and Sweden won the other two.  The last time the machine from Russia saw gold was when the Unified Team won in 1994.

I am genuinely excited for the upcoming World Cup Of Hockey.  I love to see the NHL’s best having the deck shuffled.  While it makes for great theater, this is a preseason tournament with most of the players coming back from the off-season. The players aren’t ready for the regular season let alone a world-class international tournament.

If the National Hockey League is considering ending its relationship with the Olympics, as a hockey fan I urge you to reconsider.

I live in South Florida and follow the Florida Panthers.  I would love to see the likes of Aaron Ekblad play for Canada and Aleksandr Barkov play against his teammate while wearing the crest of his native Finland.  Consider the story line of a 46-year-old Jaromir Jagr playing once again for the Czech Republic.  By the way Jagr would turn 46 during the 2018 Winter Games.

American hockey was the top story in the recent NHL draft.  Could a strong Olympic presence of the US be the reason?

So many other story lines could be made.  Can Alexander Ovechkin lead the Russians to its next gold medal?  Can a growing pool of American talent bring home gold for the first time since the Miracle in 1980?

If the NHL does pull out of Olympic play I can’t help but think that we would return to the same old Russian dominance at the Olympics.  The Russians would send a Kontinental Hockey League all-star team to the games.  The professionals would run away with the gold in the same fashion as the American women from the WNBA did once more in Rio.

Please take this into consideration.



Brian Karpel

Hockey Fan Since 1970



Time For An American Intermission

Like many Americans I have spent the past two weeks with my eyes glued to the coverage of the 2016 political conventions.  I’ve spent countless hours watching CNN and reading posts and rhetoric on social media.

We have become a country split in more than the usual Republicans and Democrats. We’ve become Clintonists, Trumpites, Sandersonians and Cruzians.  Everyone has chimed in on Facebook and Twitter while contributing to, at times, to nasty bickering in the name of American Politics.

When the first soccer game kicks off on Wednesday in Rio it will begin the Great American Timeout.  The 2016 Summer Olympics will unofficially begin since the soccer competition will run longer than the other events.  Friday night will bring the Opening Ceremony, the Parade Of Nations and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

When the American contingent enters the Rio Olympic Stadium we will all be cheering them on.  Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, for Hillary or for Donald it wont matter, you will be rooting for America.

We will be united through basketball and gymnastics, track and field and women’s soccer.  Instead of talking about, and tweeting about, Russians hacking emails the conversation will be about the Russian doping crisis.

For a little over two weeks the political bickering and even the professional sport needling will be put on hold in this great nation we call America.  For ten days our women’s soccer team takes center stage, so does Michael Phelps and so does our men’s and women’s basketball squads.  Carmelo Anthony won’t belong to the New York Knicks, Kevin Durant won’t belong to the Golden State Warriors.  The Durant hating in Oklahoma City will even be put on hold.  We will be rooting for America as a nation!

So beginning this Wednesday turn off CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC, turn your attention to NBC and it’s community of networks.  Let The Games begin and let the great American intermission from politics begin.  Trust me Hillary and Donald will still be here after the flame goes out.