The NHL announced today that they would not be going to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It will be the first time since 1994 that the NHL will not be sending their players to participate in the tournament.
While it’s been long speculated, the new being official has caused a social media outbreak. It’s reported that fans of the game are split on the final decision. Some believe the NHL does not need to send its players, while others will miss watching the best players in the world compete for Olympic gold.
It’s believed that the players still want to go, with Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin claiming that he will be going regardless of the NHL’s decision. That will be an intriguing story to follow up on.
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NHL Owners had an issue with sending their players and losing momentum as the NHL takes a break to allow the players to leave.
The NHL released the following statement.
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) as to reasons the Board of Governors might be interested in re-evaluating their strongly held views on the subject. 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.
While the timing may be seen as a distraction to the NHL’s playoff run, it made more sense to announce the decision prior to the actual NHL playoffs.