Trevor Jones, London, Ont.
The NHLPA has stated that players should not fully participate Olympic orientation camps. This is outrageous. If players do not attend and fully participate in the camps, they should not be chosen by their federations to go to the Olympics.
Being selected for a chance to represent one’s county is an honor in itself, but the NHLPA is telling players who have this opportunity that they should not be taking full advantage. What this boils down to is how badly the players want to be on an Olympic team.
This proposition is especially unfair to countries with smaller programs that rely heavily on only two or three NHL players, who may not be at orientation camps.
The major problem is insurance. In the 1970s, did Paul Henderson worry about insurance? Was Darryl Sittler worried about insurance at the Canada Cup? Why is it that, for the first time in several Olympics of NHL participation, insurance is suddenly a problem?
The NHLPA had better be careful how it proceeds, because preventing players from taking part fully in orientation activities not only deprives the players of a tremendous opportunity, it may have a negative impact on the on-ice product at the Olympics.
To the NHLPA, I wish to say, let the players play. To the players, I remind you that you make in one year more than most of the rest of us will ever make in a lifetime playing in the NHL, but it’s the times when you play for free that show us who you really are and what you’re really made of.
Please don’t forget this as you decide whether to participate in a camp that gives you a chance to represent your country on the grandest possible stage.