Why the NHL Needs to Go to the 2026 Winter Olympics


Since the NHL All-Star Game has come and gone, I figured now would be as good a time as any to talk about another big-time hockey event that the NHL needs to be involved in.

I am talking about the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina. While NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has made it clear in the past that he thinks going to the Olympics is not in the league’s best interest, I, like many others, strongly disagree.

For starters, the Olympics provide an opportunity to bring the NHL’s best players to the world’s biggest stage. Every four years, millions of eyes are glued to their TVs, phones, and other screens watching the beauty and excitement of the Winter Olympics.

Everyone saw hockey at its best when the NHL participated in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. Great goals, big hits, terrific saves, and everything that is great about hockey and the NHL were on display to the masses and showed just how elite NHL players are. If the league does the right thing and starts participating in the Winter Olympics again, it should help get more eyes on the league and should also help grow the game in untapped markets.

Secondly, watching NHLers play for their respective countries is a lot of fun. You think these players have pride in playing for their respective NHL teams. Just wait until they play for their respective countries.

Yes, winning the Stanley Cup is always the first goal of any hockey player. With that said, winning a medal while representing one’s country takes on a whole different meaning to the players. In fact, winning a medal may mean more than winning a Cup to some players.

Lastly, allowing the players to go to the Olympics may help bring labor piece between the league and the NHLPA for many years. Participation in the Olympics has always been a major talking point for the players and one that the league continues to reject.

It is time for the league to throw a bone at the players and allow them to attend the 2026 Winter Olympics. It is time for them to give their players another chance to help grow the world’s greatest league and sport.

Obviously, a lot needs to be done to make this happen, and it is also not a guarantee that the league will even consider allowing its players to play in the world’s biggest sporting event. With that said, it is time for the league to do the right thing and get back involved in bringing the NHL to the world.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
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  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports,, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog,, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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