Investigators are hoping innocent players, stung by the criticism directed at the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team for vandalism committed at the Olympic athletes’ village, will help them identify the still-unknown players responsible for damaging three rooms and disturbing other athletes after the team’s quarterfinal loss to the Czech Republic last week in Nagano, Japan.
No one has admitted involvement in the incident, which occurred between 2 and 4 a.m. on Feb. 18. USA Hockey, the sport’s administrative body, and the NHL are expected to intensify their efforts next week, probably by re-interviewing players who said they know who was involved but have refused to name names. Investigators are likely to tell players that only by identifying the culprits can those not involved avoid the taint that now colors the entire team, and they are hopeful witnesses will be persuaded to tell what they know.
“All it takes is one domino to fall,” a source said.
The USOC, which had jurisdiction over the Olympic Village, has paid $3,000 to NAOC--the Nagano Organizing Committee--to cover the damages. USA Hockey and the NHL will reimburse the USOC.
Several players, among them Brett Hull, have asked the culprits to confess and clear the names of innocent teammates. NHL Vice President Arthur Pincus said the league is still talking to people, and he foresaw no resolution this weekend.
“We would like, and still expect, the people who are responsible to do the right thing and come forward,” Pincus said.