Zuccarello to Be Kicked Off Norwegian Nation Team Due to Gambling Sponsorship?

Update, 5:12 p.m.:
One interesting angle to keep an eye on is how the NHL/Rangers will react when they find out one of their players is being sponsored by a foreign gambling company. Can't imagine this will go over too well with Bettman or the Dolans.

…Foxwoods is going to be pissed!!!!

H/T to reader sureshore for bringing this up.

Original Post:
According to Norwegian website Nettavisen, Matts Zuccarello is in jeopardy of being kicked off the Norwegian National team due to his newest sponsorship with betting company Unibet.

Apparently, the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation is financed by the state owned betting company called Norsk Tipping and Zuccarello's new agreement is causing a conflict.

The Federation says they warned Zuccarello of the consequences of signing such a deal with Unibet.

Zuccarello's manager Kevin Skabo disagrees saying dismissal was never brought up when the two sides discussed the possible Zuccarello/Unibet sponsorship earlier this year…

"They also said that they were grateful that we went to them first. We received no specific threats of expulsion, then, it can not remember. But it has always hung in the air over threats athletes in such situations."

Both sides would like to work this out but will wait until Zuccarello's season with the Rangers is over.

If the Rangers would have been swept by the Capitals there could have been a chance he played for the World Cup team if the Federation allowed.

…looks like the Dolans aren't the only greedy ones in the sport of hockey. Disgusting how this can happen with a national team. This is very similar to the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball Dream Team when Team USA was sponsored by Reebok, but players like Michael Jordan had their own sponsorship with Nike. That issue worked itself out and I'm sure this will to.

…especially when Zuccarello is so popular in Norway. Can you imagine the uproar if he's kicked off the National team and isn't allowed to play in the 2014 Olympics? Ultimately, I think the public pressure will be too much and the Federation will fold.

…to be honest I couldn't care less as long as it doesn't affect his play for the Rangers.

For more on this situation, click here.

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