The NHL Players’ Association voiced displeasure on Monday after learning of the NHL’s decision to not send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In a statement, the NHLPA said that it’s disappointed and disagrees with the NHL’s “shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics.”
“Any sort of inconvenience the Olympics may cause to next season’s schedule is a small price to pay compared to the opportunity to showcase our game and our greatest players on this enormous international stage,” the statement said.
“A unique opportunity lies ahead with the 2018 and 2022 Olympics in Asia. The NHL may believe it is penalizing the IOC or the players, or both, for not giving the owners some meaningful concessions in order to induce them to agree to go to Pyeongchang. Instead this impedes the growth of our great game by walking away from an opportunity to reach sports fans worldwide.”
Players such as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist were among those that voiced displeasure at the NHL’s decision.
The league, NHLPA, IOC and IIHF have been in negotiations for months trying to find a resolution to send players to the Games in South Korea before the NHL’s decision on Monday.
“Moreover, it is doing so after the financial issues relating to insurance and transportation have been resolved with the IOC and IIHF,” the statement said. “The League’s efforts to blame others for its decision is as unfortunate as the decision itself. NHL players are patriotic and they do not take this lightly. A decent respect for the opinions of the players matters. This is the NHL’s decision, and its alone. It is very unfortunate for the game, the players and millions of loyal hockey fans.”