NHL: No Olympics for Anyone Under Contract, Even Minor Leaguers

UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — The National Hockey League has clarified its stance on the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Nobody with an active NHL contract will be eligible to skate for their country in Pyeongchang, South Korea, even if they’re playing in the minors on loan or a two-way contract.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed as much to The Associated Press on Aug. 7. He said, “A decision has been made that all players under NHL contract will be subject to similar treatment.”

NHL players have participated in the past five Winter Olympics, dating to the Nagano Games in 1998, but they won’t be participating in 2018. The league says the Olympic hiatus is too disruptive to its business.

Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin, one of the game’s biggest stars, has been outspoken about his desire to play for his native Russia next year. And according to Russia’s Sport-Express, Ovechkin says there’s always a chance.