Ovechkin on Olympics: ‘It sucks’ that NHL players won’t be there

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin release a statement Thursday regarding NHL players not going to the next Olympics and how himself, his teammates, all players and fans are losing out.

Russia’s Alex Ovechkin voiced his frustration on Thursday night about NHL players not being allowed to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“It sucks that will we not be there to play,” the Washington Capitals superstar wrote in a statement on the team’s website.

“I am very disappointed that IOC, IIHF and NHL put me and all NHL players in this position when some of the best players in world do not have chance to play in the Olympic Games. This is not just about me but all the NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win Gold for their country. Our countries are now not allowed to ask us to play in the Olympics.

“Me, my teammates and all players who want to go all lose. So do all the fans of hockey with this decision that we are not allowed to be invited.”

The NHL officially announced in April that it wouldn’t participate in next February’s Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Despite that, there was optimism that a last-minute agreement could be made to ensure NHL players would play. However, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) president Rene Fasel publicly stated this week that the conversation was now over.

The NHL had been a participant in the Olympics since the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.

“NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics,” Ovechkin wrote.

The 31-year-old has never won an Olympic gold medal and long maintained that he was going to compete for Russia at the next Games, no matter what the league decided. The Russians struggled at the 2014 Sochi Games and were ousted in the quarter-finals by Finland.

In Thursday’s statement, Ovechkin wrote “there is nothing to talk about anymore” and thanked Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

“I talk to Ted about this last year and he support me and have my back and understand what I want to do if I was allowed to be asked to go. Me and my family thank him for his support.

“There is nothing like Olympic Games,” added Ovechkin. “It is still my dream to win an Olympic Gold medal for my country. I hope things will change and all of us will have a chance to go again in 2022.

“What’s most important to remember is kids have lots of dreams.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.