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Canada's women 'shocked' by NHL's decision to skip Winter Olympics

06 April, 2017, 08:58 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez

The NHL announced Monday that it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, refusing for the first time in 20 years to halt its season for three weeks so its stars can chase gold for their home countries.

The NHL had been in negotiations with the NHL Players' Association and the International Olympic Committee for months before deciding that the unwillingness of the two groups to meet certain concessions led owners who already opposed the idea of shutting down the season and risking player injuries to say no.

"This impedes the growth of our great game by walking away from an opportunity to reach sports fans worldwide".

"I feel sorry for the athletes because for them it must be a great disappointment", IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters in Aarhus on Tuesday.

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.

The Pyeongchang Winter Games will take place in South Korea from February 9 to 25 next year.

The International Ice Hockey Federation said it is still hoping the NHL will reverse its stance and allow players to participate in the Games. "We've seen them do a lot of things like this, whether it be lockouts, where it's just a little bit of disregard for people's feelings".

Vlasic's tweet shows the five Olympic rings reorganized in the form of an asterisk, suggesting that next year's tournament in Pyeongchang will be meaningless without the inclusion of the world's top players.

Since 1998, the National Hockey League has accommodated global teams with a monthlong hiatus during Olympic years, extending the postseason deeper into summer.

Originally the idea was that allowing National Hockey League players to participate in the Olympics would grow the sport in new markets around the globe and lead to increased attendance and television ratings at home.

Former Stanley Cup victor and current South Korea ice hockey programme director Jim Paek told Reuters that hockey fans would still watch the competition. Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog said he wouldn't rule it out - "if I was to be part of Team Sweden and a part of that, it'd something I'd have to think about and would have to see which decisions could be made". "It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans". It's the highest level of hockey that I've ever played at.

As players, especially stars who have competed in the past for their countries, process the news, they've started to speak out about how displeased they are about the decision. Previously, Canadian teams suffered from not having the country's best players available, although in the very early years of men's Olympic hockey, the country did dominate.

That reverses the league's practice since the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, pausing the schedule to allow its players to represent their nations in a quest for gold. "You never know. I've heard matters being closed before on numerous occasions and be re-opened".

"We want to be there", Canadiens' captain and former Team USA player Max Pacioretty said on Monday. But asked if he would play anyway, he said bluntly, "I'm in no position to make a statement like that". "I really thought something was going to work out".


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