TORONTO – The NHL Players’ Association is recommending that players skip the on-ice portion of Olympic orientation camps because of insurance concerns.
A source told The Canadian Press on Friday night that the NHLPA issued a memo to its affected members saying that they would be taking an “unwarranted and unnecessary risk” by skating at an Olympic camp this summer.
The source indicated that a second memo was also issued to Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the Russian and German federations alerting them to the concern. It also urges the federations to make on-ice participation at the camps optional for players and to reduce any injury risks for those who choose to take part in drills.
The NHLPA doesn’t believe the federations are providing enough insurance to cover players’ current contracts and potential future earning power in the event of an injury.
NHL teams are not responsible for insuring their players at Olympic events.
Hockey Canada will hold its orientation camp in Calgary from Aug. 24-27. The itinerary includes on-ice sessions each day, including a scrimmage before the public.
The U.S. team will hold a camp a week earlier in Chicago, while other countries are scheduled to get together throughout the summer.
The camps offer each federation the chance to give players information about the Olympics and aren’t intended to be a tryout. Even still, the NHLPA is concerned that players might be left in a tough position if they’re expected to participate in on-ice activities without proper insurance coverage.
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly was unavailable for comment. A spokesman for Hockey Canada declined to comment.