Olympic on-ice camps too risky for players: NHLPA
Pre-Olympic on-ice hockey camps are too risky and players shouldn't participate in them, according to the NHL Players' Association.
A source told The Canadian Press that the NHLPA sent a memo to its members recommending they skip the on-ice portion of Olympic orientation camps because of insurance concerns, as NHL teams aren't responsible for insuring their players at Olympic events.
The memo reportedly tells players that skating at an Olympic camp this summer would be an "unwarranted and unnecessary risk."
The source said a second memo was sent to Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the Russian and German federations to alert them of the concern, and to reduce any injury risks for players who decide to participate in on-ice drills.
The NHLPA doesn't think these federations provide enough insurance to cover players' big-league contracts and potential future earning power if an injury should occur.
Hockey Canada's orientation camp will be held in Calgary from Aug. 24-27. On-ice sessions are scheduled every day, and the camp includes a scrimmage to be played 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.
With files from The Canadian Press