No NHL Players in 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games
There will be no NHL players seeing action in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The league announced that it will not participate in the event, which will be held in PyeongChang, 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," the league said in a statement posted on NHL.com. The league added that it invited the International Olympic Committee, the IIHF and the NHL Players Association to a dialogue on the matter but it never materialized.
The NHLPA, for its part, publicly declared that it has no interest or intention of engaging in any discussion that might make Olympic participation more attractive to the clubs. "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 league added.
Earlier, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared that team owners are against Olympic participation, mainly due to the 17-day break in the schedule required in February. In addition, the NHL conducted polls in both Canada and the United States to determine if fans wanted the league to take a break in February to allow players to compete in the Olympics.
In the United States, 73 percent of respondents were not in favour while 53 percent were against in Canada. Since the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, the NHL allowed the season to be interrupted to send players to the past five Winter Olympics. The NHL's decision may have an effect on the 2022 Beijing Games.
Recently, Sports Pro Media reported that the NHL has scheduled a pair of exhibition games between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks in China to ramp up interest in hockey. The Kings and Canucks will play at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Sept. 21 and at the Huaxi LIVE Wukesong's Le Sports Center in Beijing on Sept. 23.
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