Ottawa weighs in on National Hockey League decision to skip 2018 Olympics

The league ended negotiations aimed at ensuring it would shut down for the Olympic period in February and let its superstars play in South Korea.

"The IOC, which distributes 90 percent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world, obviously can not treat a national commercial league better than not-for-profit global sports federations which are developing sport globally", the IOC said.

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel, left, had offered for the IIHF to pay the travel and insurance costs for NHL players at the 2018 Winter Games.

"I feel sorry for the athletes because for them it must be a great disappointment". In its statement issued in response to the NHL's decision to pull out of Pyeongchang, the IOC noted that it "distributes 90 per cent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world" and that it "obviously can not treat a national commercial league better than not-for-profit worldwide sports federations which are developing sport globally". The league wanted to close the matter before the playoffs, which begin April 13.

"Yeah, I didn't change my mind and I won't", Ovechkin told reporters in Toronto on Tuesday, when asked about Olympic participation ahead of a game against the Maple Leafs. "It's very disappointing news". "A huge opportunity to market the game at the biggest stage is wasted", he said on Twitter.

And while being a part of a championship team at the Winter Games would be a memorable achievement, it pales in comparison to having your name engraved on hockey's Holy Grail.

"Way to run the sport of hockey even more (Commissioner) Gary (Bettman)", former NHLer Brandon Prust tweeted.

The NHL had previously proposed that it would allow the players to compete in South Korea if the NHLPA agreed not to opt out of the current CBA in 2019 and to extend the deal, which runs out in 2022, for three additional years. "In terms of trying to grow our game, I think it could have been a good opportunity for us and usually is". But the International Olympic Committee wasn't planning to foot the bill for 2018.

Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby pose with their gold medals in Sochi in 2014.

The world hockey body's secretary general, Horst Lichtner, was briefing Winter Games federations on Tuesday in a previously scheduled meeting at an Olympic sports conference in Aarhus, Denmark.

The quality of competition certainly will suffer next winter, but just what National Hockey League players can do about it isn't clear. With the Olympic break and now the week-long bye break, the league would stop playing for at least two weeks.

"I think the players know it's very important for us to represent our countries", the Washington Capitals star said last month. "Everybody wants to go there".

With both the 2018 and the 2022 Winter Games in Asia and the National Hockey League making efforts to tap into that region's lucrative market, the logic behind the decision was lost on Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who plays for the New York Rangers.

That Leonsis backs Ovechkin may not be enough, as it's rumored the League could take additional action to prevent this from happening despite support from select ownership.

"But in my mind, I'm going. We want to do it next year, I believe, in Sweden and China", Vlasic said, referring to the NHL's plans to host exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai next fall and two regular-season games in Stockholm. I hope the decision by the NHL will not affect the new hockey viewers' opinion. "Of course Canada wants its best athletes to be there and this is making it more hard for them to do so". Assuming European leagues do give players permission or stop their seasons, the player pool for the U.S., Canada and other countries could grow if potential borderline NHL free agents choose to go overseas next season for a chance to play in the Olympics.

The IIHF said it will discuss with the participating teams the best way forward and move on with preparations for PyeongChang 2018.

  • Julie Sanders