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IIHF apologizes to Crosby, NHL

Yesterday we covered an article by IIHF communications director Szymon Szemberg that blasted Sidney Crosby and a number of other NHL players for declining to participate in this year’s World Championships in Germany. It was a scathing article that attacked the players for “forgetting what brought them riches and fame” and that they have abandoned their countries for not playing.

As expected, there was some fairly heated response to the article. Hockey Canada, Gary Bettman and a number of hockey officials were incensed with the tone of the article, one which threatened to sour the good feelings between NHL, the players and the IIHF.

I’m sure that hearing how bad a person you are for not playing will certain make players want to play next year.

Since yesterday’s article made the rounds, including a heated retort by Hockey Canada, the post has since been taken down from IIHF’s website and the president of Internation Ice Hockey Federation has personally apologized to Sidney Crosby’s agent:

“I sincerely believe that Rene Fasel was sorry for the inappropriate comments made towards Sidney and the other players,” Brisson told The Canadian Press.

Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson discussed the issue with Fasel on Thursday, calling it a “very positive meeting.” He said Fasel apologized for “the tone” of the article and the way it referred to Crosby.

Crosby was one player who was singled out by Szemberg, but he was just one of many attacked by the article. As I stated yesterday, I can understand the frustrations associated with having so many players decline to play this summer but this was by far not the right way going about voicing that displeasure.

That Hockey Canada -- the organization that decides who plays for the national team -- never expected Crosby or any other Olympic players to take part in the World Championships this summer just shows how different the expectations might have been between the national teams and the IIHF. Or, at least, Szymon Szemberg.