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Russian NHL Player Ovechkin Concedes Cannot Compete In 2018 Olympics

  • RFE/RL

Alex Ovechkin

Russian hockey player Alex Ovechkin has acknowledged he won't be allowed to play for Russia's team in the 2018 Winter Olympics because of his contract as a professional player with a National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Washington Capitals.

In a statement released on the Washington Capitals website late on September 14, Ovechkin acknowledged that a decision by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) means his possibility of playing for Russia’s national team at the Olympics in South Korea in February has been taken away from him.

Ovechkin’s statement comes after the IIHF, which oversees international competitions, assured the NHL that players under contract will not be allowed to participate.

Ovechkin had previously held out hope that, with support from the owner of the Washington Capitals, he might avoid the NHL's decision not to allow its player to compete in South Korea in order to avoid a disruption to the NHL's own regular season schedule.

Ovechkin's statement came a day after Vladislav Tretyak, the head of the Russian Hockey Federation, told reporters that Ovechkin needed to accept he will not be able to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

With reporting from AP, Reuters, and TASS
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