Is Roller Hockey In The Olympics? [Solved!]

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The International Olympic Committee is always looking to update and change the Olympic Games to make them more representative of the modern world. One of the changes they have considered is adding non-contact sports like roller hockey. Is the time coming for roller hockey to make its debut in the Olympics?

Modern Take On A Vintage Sport

The majority of people reading this are probably thinking of Marc-Andre Fleury and Mike Richards when they hear the words “roller hockey.” The names are familiar because they are two of the best to have ever played the game. Even if you aren’t familiar with their names, you know who they are because they played for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While they were both exceptional players, they weren’t the first to play roller hockey. In fact, there were originally five players on a franchise that would eventually become the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of those original players was John Dunlop, who was born in Scotland in 1876.

It wasn’t until John Dunlop’s retirement that the team began to struggle. They managed to finish last in the league twice and never won more than five games in a row. Finally, in 1905, the team was bought by a man named Lester Patrick, who changed the team’s name to the Boston Bruins. In honor of the new owner, Dunlop’s number, 17, was retired and the team began using the colors blue and gold.

While the original intent of creating the Pittsburgh Penguins was to have a team that used Dunlop’s invention, the sport of roller hockey didn’t become popular in North America until many years after Patrick’s purchase. When the NHL began in the early 1920s, they actually didn’t have a formal hockey league. Teams just played exhibition games against each other. One of the first hockey rules implemented was a maximum of five skaters per side.

One of the reasons the sport wasn’t taken more seriously at the time was because it was played with a ball instead of a puck. The ball, which was about the same size as a modern golf ball, was used because it was difficult to track when it was on the ground. Since golf has always been considered a more sophisticated game, that probably helps explain why roller hockey isn’t as popular as golf or tennis today.

All Hail The Ice Hockey Team!

While it may not be popular now, it wasn’t long ago that ice hockey was considered the “King of Winter Sports.” In the 1950s, there were actually organized hockey leagues that lasted until the 1970s.

There are many reasons why ice hockey was so popular in the early part of the century. The invention of frozen foods, which allowed people to eat ice cream year round, was a major factor. Also, television started to become more available, which meant people were able to follow games even if they weren’t played in their area. Finally, the sport developed a lot of fans in Africa and Asia, where countries like China and Japan had entire ice hockey teams by the mid-20th century.

Despite the game’s popularity in the 1950s, all of that changed when it came to adopting new rules and going against the “establishment.” In 1977, the World Hockey Association (WHA) was formed, which eventually became the National Hockey League (NHL). The WHA wanted to make the game more exciting by implementing rules like allowing players to touch the puck along with a number of other new ones that made it more like football. This was meant to make the game more appealing to non-hockey fans.

The move didn’t quite work out as planned, as people still showed up to hockey games regardless of what sport the players were actually in. Many people believe that the growth of the game was ultimately responsible for the creation of the NHL. In fact, when the WHA merged with the NHL in 1989, there were actually two leagues with 28 teams in each. Since that point, both sports have gone their separate ways with the NHL focusing more on its regular season and the WHA/AHL focusing on the playoffs.

Olympics: One Of The Most Important Sports Events Of The Year

With the 2022 Winter Olympics set to begin in three months in Beijing, China, it’s time to start thinking about the Summer Olympics. One of the biggest events in the Summer Olympics is the hockey tournament. Unlike the winter games, which are only open to members of the International Olympic Committee, the summer games are open to the general public. That means anyone can go watch the games, hold themselves eligible for the tournament, and root for their favorite team.

The most recent hockey tournament was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2018 and was organized by the IIHF. A total of 68 teams from all over the world participated, with the winners determined by a final rankings table. Among the teams that participated were the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland, which are currently ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, in the world. The top five countries include Russia, the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. These are the traditional “Big Five” countries that one would expect to see at the top of the hockey world. Unfortunately, the situation in 2022 is a little different as Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom will also compete for the honor of being the best in the world. That’s a pretty significant upgrade from “traditional” hockey nations.

In order to prepare for the tournament, teams from the United States, Canada, and Sweden practiced in Beijing earlier this year. The IIHF website even published an article about the experience saying, “Beijing will always be remembered as the city that hosted the Winter Olympics just three years ago, and the preparations for the upcoming tournament are already giving the city a new identity.”

The Future Of Hockey

While it is always considered “one of the great joys” of Canadians to see their national team win games at the Winter Olympics, the future of hockey is a little bleak if we are honest with ourselves. Namely, because the game itself is becoming less and less popular. In fact, IIHF Data shows that the number of people playing hockey in the world has dropped by 15.1% in the last decade, with participation rates in some countries plunging by as much as 30%. Especially heartbreaking is that it’s mostly younger generations that are leaving the game dissatisfied. In some countries, like the Czech Republic, the youth participation rate has dropped below 10%, which is considered “severe” by the IIHF.

It would be a major blow to international hockey if the youth don’t continue to play the game, as they serve as the new fans, audiences, and participants. Unfortunately, without a growing base, it’s hard to continue growing the game. It would be unfair to say that hockey is only popular in Canada and the United States. The game is actually incredibly popular in Africa and Asia, where some countries like China and Japan have entire hockey teams. If we are ever going to see the game grow in these and other parts of the world, it’s going to start with the youth.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With hockey being one of the most popular sports at the Summer Olympics and an important part of Canadian culture, it would be a shame if it wasn’t included in the winter games. It wouldn’t be difficult to make the switch. After all, the NHL has already done it once with other sports. If they can add golf to the mix in the winter, it would make sense to add hockey in the summer. Once the games are complete, it’s back to business as usual for the NHL.

Including hockey in the winter games would give the game some legitimacy, which is something that it desperately needs. While it is considered the “junior” version of the game, it is still incredibly popular and has the potential to grow even more given the right conditions. After all, the summer Olympics are a perfect opportunity to make the switch. It’s time to give hockey a chance in the winter.

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