Keeping injury information from opponents is an important part of winning in the NHL.
If opponents know exactly where a player is injured, they might target that area and prevent him from being a factor in the outcome of a game, series or an entire tournament.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, NHL doctors are using special phones and secret codes to communicate with team officials in North America, and prevent the Russians from hacking them and obtaining injury information, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Using numbers instead of names and specially issued cellphones wiped clear of all data, the two Philadelphia physicians representing the NHL in Sochi can communicate discreetly,” Frank Fitzpatrick writes.
“The owners were very concerned about that,” Peter DeLuca, one of the NHL’s Olympic medical officials in Sochi, told Fitzpatrick. “They said any kind of personal account or anything with a password could be hacked by the Russians in a minute. So we left everything home, and they issued us these ‘clean phones.’ ”
These players don’t have a lot of opportunities to win an Olympic gold medal, and for the guys at the end of their careers, the Sochi games might be their last chance to live a childhood dream. Players often decide to fight through injuries during short tournaments such as the Olympics and NHL playoffs, so it’s important that teams do everything necessary to keep specific injury information out of the wrong hands.
Winning the gold medal in men’s ice hockey is arguably the No. 1 objective for the Russians at these Olympic Games. It might be unfair to suspect the host nation would resort to spying on injury information to prepare for potential opponents in the final rounds of the tournament, but just to be safe, NHL doctors are using a James Bond-like approach to protect their players.