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

Montreal Canadiens alumni put on a show in fundraising game

Habs legends entertained and raised money for the Chilliwack Society for Community Living.

Valley Huskers sign former Manitoba Bison to bolster backfield

Winnipeg native Remis Tshiovo brings talent and swagger to a Valley Husker offence in need of both.

Smoking materials blamed for fire at downtown Chilliwack apartment

Fire department once again reminding smokers to fully extinguish butts in approved containers

Park and trails consultation sessions kick off on Feb. 24

City staff will be talking about some current parks projects like green gyms for example

Man who stole millions from Seabird Island band sentenced to 4.5 years jail

Stephen MacKinnon sentenced in Chilliwack court for stealing $2.3 million over eight years

From Langley to PyeongChang: Local student is at the Olympics

Walnut Grove Secondary student Kevin Kim is at the Winter Games to create a multimedia project.

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Dawson Creek man, wanted in court, sought by B.C. RCMP

33-year-old Jeremiah Alexander Smith’s vehicle found abandoned near Hope

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

UPDATE: Man killed in targted Coquitlam shooting identified

IHIT also asking for information about 2018 grey Chrysler 300 on fire near the shooting

VIDEO: B.C. deer caught obeying traffic signs

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

Most Read