NHL athletes will not play in 2018 Winter Olympics

April 3, 2017

Unfortunately for hockey fans, the NHL's star players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.  The news is bad all around for fans, players, the NHL, and the Olympics, as most everyone stood to benefit in some way from Olympic participation.

The National Hockey League released the following statement regarding the 2018 Olympic Winter Games:
“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) 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.”

Of course, the NHL and the players had the most to lose by going to the Olympics, as the potential for injuries, coupled with an interruption of the regular season schedule, could have had serious financial consequences for the league.

But the potential benefits were great as well.  Both the players and the league could have enhanced their profile worldwide, as the Olympics would have provided a platform for more eyeballs and exposure than the NHL regular season.  Although the NHL has tried to compensate for the Olympic absence by coming up with a World Baseball Classic-style international tournament of its own, that event has nowhere near the prestige as the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Olympics will miss out on the opportunity to showcase the world's best athletes in one of its most popular sports.  As such, fans will be subjected to an inferior product, which probably will not please advertisers or the media outlets showing hockey.

The International Olympic Committee issued its own statement on the NHL decision:
"This must be a huge disappointment for the players who definitely wanted to play at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. The IOC feels very sorry for the athletes.
The decision is even more regrettable, as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) had offered the same conditions to the NHL as at previous Olympic Games, where the insurance and travel costs were covered.
The IOC, which distributes 90 per cent of its revenue for the development of sport in the world, obviously cannot treat a national commercial league better than not-for-profit International Sports Federations which are developing sport globally.   
The ice hockey tournament at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will nonetheless be a very exciting one, because the players from all the other professional ice hockey leagues and their athletes will participate, and will be very much welcomed by their Olympic teams."

In other NHL news  . . .


By virtue of a Coyotes victory, the Predators became the eighth and final Western Conference team to clinch a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nashville clinched its third consecutive postseason appearance and 10th in franchise history. The Predators join the Blackhawks, Wild, Ducks, Oilers, Sharks, Blues and Flames as the eight Western Conference teams competing in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Logan Shaw scored the go-ahead goal with 3:06 remaining in regulation as the Ducks extended their point streak to 11 games (8-0-3) and moved past the idle Oilers (44-25-9, 97 points) for sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

Jonathan Bernier (18 saves) improved to 10-0-2 in his last 12 appearances dating to March 7 (1.88 GAA, .937 SV%, 1 SO).

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (3-9—12 in 8 GP) extended his point streak.


Three of the top four teams in the Atlantic Division are in action tonight:

The playoff-bound Canadiens (45-24-9, 99 points) look to extend their win streak to five games and eclipse the 100-point mark for the third time in the last four seasons when they visit the Panthers (33-34-11, 77 points).

The Maple Leafs (38-24-15, 91 points) aim to push their win streak to four contests and inch closer to their first postseason berth since 2013 when they square off with the Sabres (32-34-12, 76 points).

The Senators (41-27-9, 91 points) hope to snap a four-game slide (0-3-1) and keep pace with the Maple Leafs when they make their final visit to Joe Louis Arena to face the Red Wings (31-35-12, 74 points).


New Jersey Devils defenseman Dalton Prout has been suspended for two games, without pay, for interference against Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. The incident occurred at 7:59 of the second period. Prout was assessed a major penalty for interference and game misconduct.

Prout is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $38,414.64. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency
Assistance Fund.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps)

Boston 3, CHICAGO 2
NY Islanders 4, BUFFALO 2
ST. LOUIS 4, Nashville 1
PITTSBURGH 3, Carolina 2
MINNESOTA 5, Colorado 2
TAMPA BAY 6, Dallas 3
Washington 3, COLUMBUS 2
San Jose 3, VANCOUVER 1
NY RANGERS 4, Philadelphia 3
Anaheim 4, CALGARY 3
Arizona 2, LOS ANGELES 1

MONDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)

Toronto @ Buffalo, 7 p.m., SN, TVAS, NHLN-US, MSG-B
Ottawa @ Detroit, 7 p.m., FS-D, RDS2, TSN5
Montreal @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., FS-F, SNE, RDS

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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