Alex Ovechkin releases statement blasting NHL for not allowing its players to compete in the Olympics


alex ovechkinNick Wass/AP

Alex Ovechkin finally conceded that he won’t be playing in the
2018 Olympics.

The Washington Capitals star released a statement on Thursday
criticizing the NHL over its decision to keep players out of the
Olympics, saying that nobody benefits from the decision.

Reports in April said the NHL had agreed with its owners that the
three-week break needed for the Olympics would not be beneficial
for the league.
Several players criticized the decision
, though Ovechkin was
the holdout, maintaining he would play if he was asked to.

However,
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported
that deputy
commissioner Bill Daly said the International Ice Hockey
Federation told the NHL that it would not accept any players
currently under contract with the NHL. Ovechkin said he was
disappointed in the NHL, IOC, and IIHF for its decision.

“I see the news this week and 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
Olympic Games,” Ovechkin said. “This is not just about me but all
NHL players who want to play and have a chance to win Gold for
their country.”

Ovechkin added: “NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey
and good for Olympics. It sucks that we will not be there to
play!!”

Other players also expressed disappointment. According
to the Associated Press, Vladimir Tarasenko of
the St. Louis Blues said: “You want something for all your life
and then some guys just take it away without obvious reasons. If
it’s reasons, it’s money, but a lot of players want to be
there.”

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in February that he
wouldn’t stop Ovechkin if he had expressed desire to play in the
Olympics. The decision from the IIHF obviously ends that
speculation. Ovechkin thanked Leonsis in his statement for his
support.

Read Ovechkin’s statement below:

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