Lillehammer ’94 : Still No NHL

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Left : HAKAN LOOB holds the trophy after Sweden’s triumph at the 1987 IIHF World Championships in Vienna, Austria.

Right : former Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup left wing, MATS NASLUND. 

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In 1986, the very same year that the International Ice Hockey Federation formally ratified the use of professional players at the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee voted to cease the practice of the Summer and Winter Games competing in the same calendar year and instead decided to separate the two events.

The new policy was formally enacted with the XVII Winter Olympic Games held in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

The Lillehammer Games also marked the only time in modern history that an Olympics was staged within two years of a preceding event as compared to the normal four-year break.

It was approaching a decade since professional ice hockey players were welcome at the Winter Olympic Games when the Lillehammer Games got underway. As had been the case since the Calgary Games in 1988, the competing countries staffed their national teams with as many ex-NHLers as they saw fit. Once again, many former NHL players participated at Lillehammer in 1994, including one-time elite-level skaters such as Sweden’s HAKAN LOOB and MATS NASLUND as well as PETER STASTNY for Olympic debutants Slovakia.

However, once again, the National Hockey League clubs refused to release their players en masse for Olympic participation.

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