Saying "No" To Team Canada: The Ultimate Sin?

Adam WrightSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2008


Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf has been under fire from many fans as of late for turning down an offer to play for Team Canada at The World Championships.

Instead of representing his country in Halifax, he is now laying on a hot sunny beach in Hawaii with his girlfriend, sexy actress Elisha Cuthbert. I repeat….ELISHA CUTHBERT!

Now put aside my extreme jealousy for the extremely pale son-of-a-gun! Is it so awful, or selfish, to refuse this invitation after a long 82 game schedule? Is it dishonoring his country?

Personally, I do not think so.

First of all, an invitation of this sort is optional. Yes, it’s a very big honor to be chosen to represent our country, but it still a personal choice. We should respect his choice, especially after a grueling 82 game season.

Dion Phaneuf is definitely not the first to refuse the offer.

In 2002, before the Winter Games in Salt-Lake City Utah, goaltender Patrick Roy stated that he does not want to play in the Olympics that year. He wanted to use the break to rest and spend time with his family.

This left room for Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph, one who would not have been selected if Roy decided to play in the games. And we all know the result. As a Canadian, I will never forget Team Canada winning the Gold Medal game against the United States.

Recently in the NBA, Steve Nash said he would not play for Team Canada in the Summer Games in Beijing. The schedule was too much and he needs the time to rest, he stated. Nash was bashed by fans because our best Canadian player would not play.

Even during these World Championships, Phaneuf was not the first to say “No”. Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo also refused the invitation to play for Team Canada. He wants to spend time with his wife and newly born baby girl. We all heard about the birth his daughter, which made headlines in the sports world. “What will the Canucks do?”. But Roberto was back just one day after the birth of his baby to save the Canucks.

Time to heal? Time to rest? Spend time with family? Those selfish bastards!

Clearly as Canadians we are passionate about our sports. And representing our country on the world stage is a matter of pride and honor. But as fans, we should understand that it’s a choice. It’s the players’ choice! Because it’s the players who spend most of the year away from their families and it takes a toll physically and mentally on them. So why must we jump on a player because he refuses to play for Team Canada?

Aren’t we the ones being selfish then?