PyeongChang Still Hopes for NHL Players to Come to the Olympics

"We have to see", Bach said when asked by insidethegames if an agreement could still be reached.

The NHL had allowed its athletes to participate in each of last five consecutive Olympics.

Bach said all players, including those in the National Hockey League, were welcome should they decide to compete in South Korea.

"I know Stanley Cup playoffs are competitive but when you get down to a single-elimination tournament, they don't get any more intense, any bigger games, especially if you're playing for a medal".

"The offer which was made by the IIHF to cover the insurance and travel costs, as was done for previous Games and, with which they were not satisfied any more".

IIHF secretary general Horst Lichtner also remained hopeful a deal could be struck but criticised the role of the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA).

The German laid the majority of the blame at the feet of the NHLPA, led by executive director Donald Fehr. For handing over a talent pool with contracts valued at $3.5 billion, the NHL was seeking something akin to IOC Top Sponsor status which would allow the league to market the Winter Games on its platforms.

"Things are on the table and they are not moving". "We will always try to do the best for ice hockey — and this is put the best players on the ice and let them play, because they want it".

"It won't be long but it is not over".

"If we have some movement from all the sides and we could still do it". Instead, the International Olympic Committee has now expressed the position that the NHL's participation in Beijing in 2022 is conditioned on our participation in South Korea in 2018.

The NHL decision will impact nearly every major hockey-playing nation since the Swedish, Finnish, Russian, U.S. and Canadian teams are nearly entirely comprised of NHL representatives.

It remains possible, however, that some may defy the league's stance and head to represent their country at the Games in the South Korean resort.

Some top players publicly condemned the National Hockey League, including Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, who said he would take part in the event for Russian Federation no matter what his club says.

The NHL announced on Monday it will opt against facilitating its players from participating at next year's Winter Olympic Games in South Korea by refusing to place the 2017-18 campaign on hold.

"It's disappointing for all the young guys in the league - Eichel, Matthews, Ekblad, the list goes on and on and on - all these young guys that are trying to make their mark on hockey and they may not be able to get their chance to on the global stage so that part of it is a little bit upsetting".

That could make for some awkwardness in the Capitals' locker room, if some players abandon their teammates for a month to participate in the Olympics.

Other players were less even-keeled with their words.

The NHL's decision not to release players for next year's Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea comes as a surprise to some of the Canadian players at the women's world hockey championship.



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