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Amateur players should return to Olympic hockey

This probably isn’t a popular opinion in a hockey-crazed city like Buffalo, where the sport even dictates urban planning, but I have to say it. Please return the amateur players to men’s Olympic hockey. This charade has gone on long enough.

First off, I didn’t realize the aim of the Olympics was to promote a North American professional sports league. The NBA “Dream Teams” are bad enough but at least they win and people recognize the players. That can’t be said for U.S. hockey, where the team has won just two silver medals since 1998 and its players are basically anonymous to most of the country. Compare that to the period of 1960-1980 when U.S. amateurs won two golds and a silver medal, and one can say the NHLers haven’t helped the U.S. cause.

It is even questionable if it has helped the league as the NHL is still the distant fourth pro sports league in America.

This reeks as nothing more than a money grab by the U.S. television networks covering the game and the haughty International Olympic Committee. So let’s bring back the kids and try and remember those days when it really meant something to chant “USA!”

Tim Saracki

Buffalo

Why are the Bills dragging feet on Byrd?

Here it is 2014 and the Bills haven’t signed Jairus Byrd yet.

They came to stalled negotiations last year and had to slap the franchise tag on Byrd while he held out and was injured the first part of the year. The Bills should have learned their lesson last year. What are they waiting for?

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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