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NHL decision on 2018 Olympic hockey not expected until after Rio

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 24: (R-L) Alexander Ovechkin #8 of Russia skates next to Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada in the third period during the ice hockey men’s quarter final game between Russia and Canada on day 13 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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NHL participation in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics won’t be decided until after the Rio Olympics, NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr reportedly said Wednesday.

“The history is that the real discussions take place sometime after the preceding Summer Olympics, which would be after the Rio Games conclude and [the] World Cup [of Hockey from Sept. 17-Oct. 1],” Fehr said, according to Reuters. “I don’t think there are any differences this time in the negotiating schedule.”

Fehr’s comment agrees with the timing of the NHL’s decision to send players to the Sochi 2014 Olympics, a move that was announced on July 19, 2013.

The 2018 Olympics decision could still be made more than one year before the Pyeongchang Winter Games, though.

In November, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman estimated a decision on NHL participation in Pyeongchang 2018 and Beijing 2022 would be made “in approximately the next year.”

NHL participation began with the Nagano 1998 Winter Games and continued at Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.

The Winter Games return to East Asia for the first time since Nagano at Pyeongchang and Beijing.

Fehr and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly insisted Wednesday that the new World Cup of Hockey, which will be held again in 2020 and potentially every four years for the forseeable future, will not impact the NHL decision on Olympic participation.

MORE HOCKEY: U.S. grouped with Russia in 2018 Olympic tournament

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