NHL says no to 2018 Winter Olympics

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For the first time since 1994 in Norway, the NHL will not be sending its players to the Winter Olympics.

The league released a statement today clarifying its position on the 2018 Games in South Korea:

“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.”

The NHL had been hoping for concessions from the NHLPA or IOC in order to continue Olympic participation.

But the players said they wouldn’t negotiate for the right to go, and the IOC was likewise resistant.

Related: 

— Bettman points finger at IOC for opening a ‘whole can of worms’

— Ovechkin vows to play in Olympics even if NHL doesn’t participate