Even into early August, there were reports the Washington Capitals star was still hopeful he was going to South Korea to play for his country.
It’s possible NHL players go to the 2022 Winter Olympics in China. But, if there was still even an ounce of hope remaining for a miracle decision to be made for this upcoming February, it was terminated earlier this week with IIHF president Rene Fasel telling Reuters that, for 2018, “That train has left the station.”
On Thursday, Ovechkin released a statement through the Capitals. It appears he’s come to grips with the reality that he will not be playing in the upcoming Olympics, although his statement expressed a heartfelt disappointment that the NHL wouldn’t allow its players to participate.
“I see the news this week and I am very disappointed that IOC, IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in world do not have chance to play in the Olympic Games,” Ovechkin wrote in the statement.
“This is not just about me but all the NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win Gold for their country. Our countries are now not allowed to ask us to play in the Olympics. Me, my teammates and all players who want to go all lose. So do all the fans of hockey with this decision that we are not allowed to be invited. NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play!!
“There is nothing like Olympic Games. It is still my dream to win an Olympic Gold medal for my country. I hope things will change and all of us will have a chance to go again in 2022. What’s most important to remember is kids have lots of dreams. My focus as it always is this time of year is on my other dream as a kid, to try to win the Stanley Cup. I am excited training camp has started in Washington and the time for talking is done. We just have to go out and do it and I will try my hardest to help my teammates win like I do every year since I came to the NHL.”
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has offered his support for Ovechkin when it comes to going to the Olympics, and Ovechkin thanked him for that in his statement.