Mandy Mitchell

The Mitchell Report: Olympic Hockey and the Sam story

Posted February 16, 2014

Thoughts on the sports world I can't share in a 5 minute sportscast. Some Triangle news. Some not.

NHL and the Olympics

I thoroughly enjoyed waking up Saturday morning, brewing a nice cup of coffee and watching an extremely entertaining hockey game between the U.S. and Russia. I watched this thinking about how the NHL owners are strongly considering not letting their players go to the Olympics in 2018. There is a lot of speculation about this because the NHL isn't too keen on suspending the season for more than two weeks. Some are complaining ticket sales go down after such a long break. Other owners worry about injuries. I really enjoyed this hockey game, but I am not the person who needs to be sold. The NHL is looking for new fans. I wonder if the Olympics helps the league or hurts the league. Here is one point someone brought up to me this week which made me think. If you are completely new to the game of hockey and watch the Olympics, will you be as entertained by the sport when the NHL returns? The Olympics is essentially a collection of all-star teams. This is really beautiful hockey. Would it almost be a letdown if you become a hockey fan during these two weeks only to find out the NHL is good, but not that good? The TJ Ohsie moment was fantastic! The question is, does that kind of thing do enough for the sport to prove worthwhile for NHL owners? I am very curious to hear some opinions on this because I am on the fence. I love to see the pros out there but I can certainly see both sides.

The Sam Story

I was going to share this story in the"worth reading" reading section, but I really want to say more about it. This story by Pat Forde really struck me. It's probably because I am a journalist, but it was so nice to read about others in the media choosing to do the right thing and not report on the Michael Sam story. I truly appreciate what the University of Missouri student newspaper is teaching its students. I know a lot of people think the media is cut-throat and only out to get ratings and sell newspapers. It's not always that way for individuals. So many news managers and editors will force reporters to go with stories and forget about the humans involved. I am happy to say I don't work for that kind of news organization, but I have before and it's not a lot of fun. This story was Sam's to share. I am so glad he got to do it on his terms even with a newspaper knowing the entire story.

Worth Reading

A really in depth look into Duke's Tommy Amaker and what he has been able to build at Harvard. This is a long piece.

Um... thanks mom?


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  • redwolf-nc Feb 17, 2014

    I enjoy your weekly blog report. It gives a little more depth to the headline news and your perspective on some stories we may not have read. Keep up the good work!

  • caniacman Feb 17, 2014

    If the NHL stops going to the Olympics it will because it brings back the World Cup of Hockey where they will have more control. Anyone that remembers the World Cup in 96 what great hockey that was too! The difference is the World Cup would not interfer with the NHL schedule like the Olympics do.

  • Jeanne Gunn Feb 17, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    If the NHL decides to prohibit their players from participating in the Olympics, those games won't be played at the high caliber they're currently being played at, but sometimes amateur teams can provide an expected thrill like the 1980 American Team. I love what I'm seeing from Team USA. Detroit seems to be the Yankees of the hockey world.

  • JPack Feb 17, 2014

    Good point on the state of Olympic hockey. I'm not sure I'm in a position to give an unbiased point of view. I'm a diehard hockey fan. Have been without fail since '91. So to me, watching the worlds best players come together to fight for their country just pushes me to the edge of my seat. Glued until the last second ticks. Of course I'm in favor of letting them play. But your friend makes a good point. If every team could afford to buy a Stanley Cup like Detroit, then the league would dominate American sports. As it is, it's not fun to watch a NY Islanders vs FL panthers game. Just not a lot of wow factor there.

  • Jeanne Gunn Feb 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Great piece, Mandy. It's refreshing - and rare - to see a story like Sam's kept under wraps when it could have been a scoop for journalists who already knew he was gay.

    The Amaker story is terrific, and he's found a great match at Harvard.

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