Could this be the last Olympics where we see professional hockey players representing their home countries? The answer so far is… maybe. No one is quite sure what will happen in future Olympic games, but there is some speculation that insurance costs may stop National Hockey League players from participating after this year’s Games in Vancouver. A Globe and Mail report said that insuring Russia native and star left wing Alex Ovechkin for the World Championships alone cost between $500,00 and $800,000.
Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals hockey team, told the Washington Post that the risk of injuries and cost of coverage weighs heavily in the decision, saying Even though we have insurance, if someone suffers a career-ending injury and can’t sign that next contract, people will start to think twice.” The NHL does have an insurance policy for its players, but the teams are not required to insure their players for Olympic events. Leonsis’ star player and captain Ovechkin has said that even if NHL players are barred from playing in future Olympic games, he’ll still go … even if it means quitting the NHL and leaving his 13-year, $124 million contract behind.