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September 21, 2017

Legends of Team Canada: Steve Tambellini

Prior to the 1988 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee decided to formally end the hypocrisy of "amateur" athletics and allow professionals to compete in sports such as hockey.
Now that did not mean Wayne Gretzky was going to Calgary for the Olympics. No, the National Hockey League would wait another decade before interrupting their schedule to allow all of it's high priced talent to compete on the world's biggest stage.
But it did mean, in theory anyway, that a pro player could compete at the Olympics if they somehow were granted permission to leave their employer during the season.
Team Canada officials quickly sought such opportunities. Eventually they secured a deal with the seven Canadian NHL clubs at the time whereby Canada would ask for a player to be loaned from each team, if they so chose. The NHL team would then grant or deny permission.
Ultimately Canada added former Canadian Olympian Tim Watters from Winnipeg on defense and veteran forwards Jim Peplinksi from Calgary and Steve Tambellini from Vancouver. All three were being used sparingly by their respective teams at the time.
Canada zeroed in on Tambellini quite quickly. Canadian assistant coach Tom Watt was very familiar with Tambellini from his days as head coach of the Canucks. He knew Tambellini could help Canada's chances.

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