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News > Sport

IOC Expresses Regret over NHL's Olympic No-Show

  • An ice sculpture of the Olympic rings is seen near the venue for the opening and closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

    An ice sculpture of the Olympic rings is seen near the venue for the opening and closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 April 2017
Opinion

"Obviously, (the NHL) wanted more money or whatever. We do not know what they really wanted," said the IOC's president.

The International Olympic Committee has expressed regret that the world's best ice hockey players will miss next year's Winter Games after the National Hockey League opted against participation in Pyeongchang.

The NHL reached a decision on Monday not to release its players for the Games, saying talks to find a solution to the problem of halting its league mid-season to accommodate the Olympics in the past had not been successful.

The decision triggered a wave of critical reaction from the IOC, players and even Canada's sports minister.

"I feel sorry for the athletes because for them it must be a great disappointment," IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters in Aarhus on Tuesday.

"The IOC policy cannot be there to give more money, finances, to a commercially orientated owner of a club in a national league," Bach added, admitting that he had anticipated the NHL's decision.

The Pyeongchang Games will take place in South Korea from Feb. 9-25 next year. The NHL, unhappy over the prospect of shutting down its season for almost three weeks, sought major concessions from the IOC, comparable to that of an Olympic top sponsor.

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