Hall of Fame NHL goaltender Patrick Roy says he was caught off-guard by the league’s decision to skip the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"It was a bit of a surprise for me because I thought it would be a given that they'd be there," Roy told BNN in an interview Wednesday. "I'm curious to see the [league's] reasons."
The NHL announced late Monday that it’s opting not to participate in the upcoming Games, the first time the league hasn't been involved in the Winter Olympics since Nagano in 1998.
"I participated in Nagano, it was a great moment in my career," Roy said, while going on to dismiss fears that the condensed schedule resulting from the Olympics hurts players when they return for league games.
"I always thought that the players were extremely respectful of the fans -- going there [doesn't mean] that would take away their focus from winning Stanley Cups. ... You want to win the Stanley Cup. No disrespect for the Olympics, it's great to be part of it -- but the Stanley Cup is the Stanley Cup."
And as far as Roy is concerned, that desire to win trumps everything else – even economic disincentives like Canada’s weak loonie.
“I don’t think it really matters to the players,” Roy said when asked about whether the currency and tax rates deter players from joining Canadian teams.
“First of all, the players want to win the Stanley Cup and they want to be on teams where they feel that they have a chance.”