Ice Hockey fans were aware that the National Hockey League (NHL), which is the biggest and most popular Ice Hockey league in the world, was not in favor of participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 2018 Olympics is scheduled to take place from February 9 – 25 which is in the middle of the NHL season.
NHL Drops Out Of 2018 Olympics
For the NHL to be a part of the 2018 Olympics, it would have had to pause its season for three full weeks in order to allow its players to head to Pyeongchang. This was something the NHL wasn’t willing to do and as a result informed the Pyeongchang Olympic organizing committee that it would not be a part of the 2018 Olympics.
The President of the Pyeongchang Olympic committee, Lee Hee-Beom did his best to work out a possible solution with the NHL and Rene Fasel – President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) but they were unable to reach a mutual decision. Fasal officially announced on Tuesday that the NHL will not be a part of the 2018 Olympics and said that the NHL would try and work out a solution so that it can be a part of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
While the NHL’s decision to withdraw from the Olympics does not come as a surprise, it will certainly be a disappointment to Ice Hockey fans as well as Ice Hockey nations who will participate in the 2018 Olympics. They would have undoubtedly wanted to compete against some of the best players in the world and the NHL’s absence not only deprives them of this opportunity but will also disappoint the fans as the quality and excitement diminishes to a certain extent with the NHL’s withdrawal.
Some NHL Players Will Fly To Pyeongchang
Things will get interesting in the lead-up to the Olympic games as there are quite a few international players in the NHL who have expressed a strong interest in participating in the Olympics and representing the respective countries. Alex Ovechkin is a team member of the Washington Capitals and is expected to be a part of the Team Russia squad for the Olympics.
The NHL wants its players to play throughout the 2018 season but Ovechkin has made it clear that nothing will stop him from being in Pyeongchang. The NHL will have to see how many players want a three week leave of absence and then make a decision accordingly.