Lundqvist hopes World Cup doesn't end NHL's Olympic run

Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:20pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Henrik Lundqvist is looking forward to playing in the re-booted World Cup of Hockey but the Swedish goalie hopes the tournament does not ultimately spell the end of NHL participation in the Olympics.

The NHL has not yet committed to send its players to Korea for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, focusing for now on its eight-team World Cup of Hockey that will return later this year after a 12-year hiatus.

    But Lundqvist, who won Olympic ice hockey gold with Sweden in 2006 and silver in 2014, feels sending NHL players to the Olympics is a great opportunity for growing the game.

    "It's the best and biggest stage for hockey," the 33-year-old goalie told Reuters after a photo shoot at the Central Park skating rink to promote a Tag Heuer watch. "You get people to watch hockey that don't normally watch. I experience that every time after an Olympics.

    "It's just a good platform. If you can get Asia more involved in hockey to grow the sport, I think it's a great opportunity."

    The National Hockey League has participated in the past five Winter Olympics, including two in Europe and one in Asia, but have concerns about going to Pyeongchang due to the lengthy break that would interrupt the league's regular season.

    The Sept 17-Oct. 1 World Cup in Toronto appeals to the NHL as it helps expand its international presence while, unlike the Olympics, giving the league full control of an event along with a new revenue stream.

    But for Lundqvist, swapping the blue jersey of his NHL's New York Rangers for the Tre Kronor at a major multi-sport event is something too special to pass up.   Continued...

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a glove save against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports