(ATR) The National Hockey League says that after five consecutive Winter Olympics, the league will not be sending its players to PyengChang 2018.
"We have previously made clear that while the overwhelming majority of our clubs are adamantly opposed to disrupting the 2017-18 NHL season for purposes of accommodating Olympic participation by some NHL players, we were open to hearing from any of the other parties who might have an interest in the issue (e.g., the IOC, the IIHF, the NHLPA, etc.) as to reasons the Board of Governors might be interested in re-evaluating their strongly held views on the subject," the NHL said in a statement.
"A number of months have now passed and no meaningful dialogue has materialized. Instead, the IOC has now expressed the position that the NHL's participation in Beijing in 2022 is conditioned on our participation in South Korea in 2018. And the NHLPA has now publicly confirmed that it has no interest or intention of engaging in any discussion that might make Olympic participation more attractive to the clubs.
"As a result, and in an effort to create clarity among conflicting reports and erroneous speculation, this will confirm our intention to proceed with finalizing our 2017-18 regular season schedule without any break to accommodate the Olympic Winter Games. We now consider the matter officially closed."
International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel told Around the Rings last week that a deadline for the NHL to make a decision would be determined after he met with various national federations this week. The countries wanted to have ample time to work out a Plan B if the NHL were to refuse to release its players. It appears they now have that time.
NHL players have taken part in every Winter Games since Nagano 1998.
There is still a possibility that some players will be participating in Korea next February.
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has stated that he would let players go to the Olympics, including Russian star Alex Ovechkin, regardless of the outcome. Other players or teams could follow.
Written by Gerard Farek
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