This past summer the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) reached an agreement that would the best hockey league in the world allow for its top players to compete for their countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This would be the fifth time NHL players have been able to participate at the games, but the NHL was not totally set on sending the players to the biggest stage in the world.
The NHL was hesitant due to the fact it would have to have a stoppage in its season which would cause some scheduling conflicts. The Olympic break would take place from February 9th to the 26th, not a substantial amount of time, but long enough for the NHL have mixed feelings. If an agreement was not reached, many players threatened to go regardless of any punishment the NHL would handout. Since the Olympics are once every four years, the chance for a player to represent their country on the largest stage in the world is a rare occurrence and something they want to take part in.
There is also the discussion of allowing professional athletes to participate at the Olympics. The Olympics is supposed to be a celebration of sports and many people believe that professionals should not be present at the games. Its unlikely that many countries would ever be competitive in certain sports against the countries that do not possess the professional talent. While baseball is no longer a sport in the Olympics, Major League Baseball did not allow for its players to go to the games. This opens up opportunities for amateurs to make their dreams come true. The NBA does allow for players to go, but the tournament does not interfere with their scheduling. However, in recent years the United States has dominated the tournament due to their abundance of star players.
With these points being made, what is your stance on professionals competing at the Olympics?