HASH(0x292cf20)

Turin Olympic champ Gushue says NHL absence from ’18 Games a “terrible decision”

Turin curling champs weigh in on NHL decision

EDMONTON — Canadian curler Mark Nichols found Olympic hockey to be a motivating force for his team on its run to winning gold at the Turin Games in 2006.

His team took in two men’s games during the tournament and watched the Canadian women’s team win gold.

“That was a real turning point for us at the Olympics,” Nichols said. “When we got to see the women’s team beat Sweden in the final and you saw them get their medals, we were at the end of our round-robin heading into the playoffs.

“When you experience that and watch someone win a gold medal, it was like ‘Oh listen, we’ve got to be there (too).'”

Nichols played third on the Canadian team skipped by Brad Gushue that beat Finland in the championship game in Pinerolo, Italy. 

The Canadian men’s hockey team, meanwhile, did not fare as well. The 2006 squad didn’t reach the podium after dropping a quarter-final decision to Russia.

The national team bounced back four years later by winning gold at the Vancouver Games and successfully defending the Olympic title at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Both Nichols and Gushue were disappointed to hear about Monday’s decision that NHL players would not be going to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“I think it’s a terrible decision,” Gushue said. “Just from a hockey perspective, I don’t know how you don’t go to the biggest event in the world and showcase your best players. As a fan I’m very disappointed by it.

“I’m sure there’s some business reason behind it, but from a pure hockey and a pure fan’s perspective, I think it’s terrible to not give those guys an opportunity.”

Gushue and Nichols are hoping to return to the Games for the first time since Turin. 

They can secure a berth in the Olympic Trials this December with a podium appearance at this week’s Ford World Men’s Curling Championship at the Northlands Coliseum.

On the men’s hockey front, the Olympic tournament will not exactly feature household names.

Canada will likely try to win a third straight gold with players from lower-level pro leagues around the world.

“A little disappointed in the decision as an athlete and a fan of high-calibre sport, Nichols said. “I just think you want the best players playing in the biggest event in the world.”

Former prime minister Stephen Harper was in attendance Monday night as Gushue defeated American skip John Shuster 8-2 to improve his round-robin record to 5-0.

Harper, who wrote a book on the history of hockey, declined to comment on the NHL announcement. 

The 2018 Games are set to begin Feb. 9.

“If you’re any sort of athlete, that’s the coolest and the biggest event you’re ever going to play in,” Nichols said. “It’s too bad that those guys won’t get a chance to do it.”

———

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Ghostriders show grit and tenacity

Hard work and heartbreak; a reoccurring theme in Fernie’s past two hockey… Continue reading

Fernie Swim team aims for Nationals

Aidan Chudleigh has high hopes for his swim team this year, and… Continue reading

Jaffray Area OCP goes to public hearing

The public hearing will be held November 22nd at 7:00 PM at the Jaffray Community Hall.

Oil dumped illegally at Tie Lake Transfer Station

The Regional District of East Kootenay is searching for any information in… Continue reading

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Sparwood florist to compete nationally

The Maple Leaf Cup; where art and flower design meet under one… Continue reading

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Rising gas prices have valley drivers fuming

Two weeks ago, $20 worth of gas got Delenia Phillips twice as… Continue reading

Most Read