The NHL announces Monday that it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Today's news confirms what many had thought might occur, as it ends of a run of five consecutive Winter Olympics with NHL participation.
The League released the following statement to coincide with the news:
"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.
"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 has voiced its reluctance to participate in the Winter Olympics, as it would create up to a 17-day break in the schedule, and create other challenges, such as eliminating the All-Star Game and tighten the overall schedule.
Some NHL players, including Alex Ovechkin, have voiced their commitment to representing their country in the Winter Olympics, regardless of the NHL's decision, and that will now be a focal point this week and leading towards next season.