Ice hockey world body still works for Olympic deal with NHL

Said Lichtner to the website: "If you know that your main stakeholders, the players, want to play the Olympics - they've stated it and repeated it constantly over the last six months - and the PA doesn't move and doesn't sit down to the table, what would you do if you were the National Hockey League?". You hope you can come back to it.

"The IOC policy can not be there to give more money, finances, to a commercially orientated owner of a club in a national league", Bach added, admitting that he had anticipated the NHL's decision. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk, who represented the United States in Sochi, said he didn't think players should give up anything to go in 2018. "They know that we believe very strongly that players ought to have an opportunity to play".

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly stated that there is no tangible benefit to the league shutting down its season for more than two weeks in February - a time when football is over and baseball hasn't started - and there's obviously a huge risk of losing a player to injury in global play. It'll be interesting to see just what the league does if a player goes to Korea anyway, though. Former president of the Dallas Stars, Mike Cramer tells BNN why he thinks the decision is disappointing.

"A unique opportunity lies ahead with the 2018 and 2022 Olympics in Asia", the NHLPA said. "He makes more than most hockey players". Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in February he expects to be punished if he allows Ovechkin and other players go but would be fine with that. Not only does it sound like Ovechkin will play, but the KHL, the country's domestic league, hasn't moved toward a similar policy as its American counterpart.

"Nothing is going to be bigger than that, playing for your nation", Forsberg said. "So I think it was too bad and I was disappointed to hear that news". Team Canada is the two-time defending Olympic champion. "They should be able to represent their country just as much as their team". Same goes for the Toronto Maple Leafs' rookie-of-the-year candidate Auston Matthews.

"It's a little bit disappointing", he said.

The Oilers captain would be a key member of a Canadian team in Pyeongchang. Instead, McDavid could be at the start of the worldwide path followed by another Oilers captain whose career already bears several happier parallels to his own: Wayne Gretzky played internationally only eight times, appearing in four Canada Cups and one World Cup.

"As a league, we're trying to grow our game all over the world".

ESPN also shared that the International Olympic Committee told the National Hockey League if it chose to prevent its athletes from participating in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, then there's no guarantee National Hockey League athletes will be allowed to compete in 2022.

Bettman told The Globe and Mail in late March that China is "looking at building hundreds of rinks and arenas and looking for ways to introduce the game to people throughout the country - and that's something we've been interested in exploring at all levels in the game".

Like Toews, Faulk was frustrated that labor talks were intertwined with Olympic participation. Given the amount of financial support the NHL gives Canada and USA Hockey, it's hard to believe those federations would accept rogue NHLers on their Olympic squads.

"That was ridiculous", Faulk said. I thought it was more of a posturing thing, like we've seen so many times with this.

  • Julie Sanders