Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia rapidly approach, the concern over security at the event continues to grow.
Concerns have increased so much that some NHLers are not bring their families with them when they compete in the games next month. Henrik Sedin, whose family was not planning to make the trip to Sochi, told the Globe and Mail recently that he’d tell them to stay home if they were.
“I think if they had plans, I would for sure say I’d rather have them back home,” he said in the article.
The concerns over security come amid reports that Russian authorities are searching for potential suicide bombers, one of which may already be in Sochi. Earlier in the week a terrorist group released a video warning of an attack at the Winter Olympics if the games were not called off.
In December, two suicide Bombers claimed the lives of 34 people in the Russian City of Volgograd.
Despite the threats Islander captain, and first time Canadian Olympian, John Tavares is not overly concerned.
“I think you’re aware of it. Obviously there’s a lot going on,” Tavares said of the recent threats. “I’m bringing family over. I think there is a decent amount of guys from the Canadian team that are. I think their understanding is basically stay at their hotels and go to the hockey game. There’s really not much else to do.”
Security in Russia will be tight during the Olympics. 40,000 troops will patrol the area surrounding the Olympic venues and it is reported that $2 billion was spent on security. The NHL will also have it’s own security team in place during the games.
“I’ve been in constant contact with the Player’s Association. They’ve been working with the league and the IOC to make sure the security is at a very high level. I think people have also talked about you’re never really gunna see security at an Olympics quite like this one,” Tavares said.
The 23-year-old remains optimistic that with all the extra security in place, the Olympics will run smoothly and he can focus on winning gold for his country.
“You gotta put your trust and faith in that, and that the Russians are gunna do a great job,” Tavares said. “They’re hosting the world’s biggest event, so I think everything should be fine. I just want to focus playing and trying to win a gold medal.”