After months of negotiations, the National Hockey League has confirmed that it will not participate in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
In a statement released Monday, the league announced that they were unable to come to an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation, and that the league will finalize its 2017-18 schedule without a break for players to participate in the games in South Korea.
Here is the league's statement:
"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 accomodating 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 accomodate the Olympic Winter Games. We now consider the matter officially closed."
In the past, the NHL has put a break into their schedule so that players may participate in the Olympics, but the door has been closed on that option for next season.
The league also attempted to float Olympic participation as an incentive for the NHLPA to begin negotiations on the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the players expressed no interest in that idea when it emerged last fall.
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.