After being the elephant in the room for the better part of the entire season, the NHL has announced today that the League will not participate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The NHL Public Relations Department released the following statement on the matter moments ago:
The NHL has released the following statement regarding the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. pic.twitter.com/nqjYtsLHew
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 3, 2017
The NHL started sending players to the Olympics starting at the 1998 Nagano Games and they kept on going up until 2014 in Sochi, Russia. According to Sportsnet, that year, the International Olympic Committee extended $14 million to pay for players’ insurance and travel costs, and this was not offered this time around, causing a rift. The NHL did not want money coming from the IIHF to support the Games when that money could have been used to develop the game worldwide. They wanted any monetary amount to support the players to come from the IOC.
Whether the players still go remains to be seen, but Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and Washington Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis have made their respective stances clear.
Here’s the full quote from the snippet of an interview SN had with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in the intermission. pic.twitter.com/tRmEIpGiSd
— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) March 19, 2017
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 2, 2017
Also, whether this affects 2022 in Beijing remains to be seen, as the NHL has just begun a marketing campaign focused on growing the game overseas in that area. This is headlined by the preseason game that will take place there between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks in Shanghai and Beijing on September 21st and 23rd respectively. Not being allowed to go this year by common sense standards doesn’t bode well for the league in five years, but this is another issue among many as a result of this decision.
The NHL statement also puts into question 2022 Beijing saying that IOC told league 2022 participation was “conditioned” on going in 2018
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 3, 2017
Stay tuned for more updates.