Washington Capitals’ star winger Alex Ovechkin said in a statement released Thursday night that he is disappointed in the decisions reached by the IOC, IIHF and NHL regarding the NHL’s ruling not to send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
In the statement, Ovechkin appears to accept the fact he will not be allowed to participate in the 2018 Winter Games in January. This is contrary to statements he has made for the past two years, that he will attend regardless of the whether the NHL allows players to participate or not.
The IIHF has given the NHL assurances it won’t let players under contract play in the Olympics.
FROM THE CAPITALS MEDIA RELEASE
Below is a personal message written by Alex Ovechkin that he asked the Washington Capitals to release on his behalf:
“I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying. The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country. Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.
My mom was a two-time Olympic champion and when I start to play hockey I dream that if I have chance to play for my country I will do it every time they ask me. Ever since I was teenager I have played for Junior Russia National team whenever they ask me to. Ever since I was good enough to play on Men’s National Team, whenever they ask me I play. When they ask me to be part of Olympics Closing Ceremony in Vancouver before Sochi get the Olympic Games I said ok let’s do it. When they ask me to be Ambassador for Sochi Olympic Games I did it. When they ask me to go to Greece and be first Russian to carry Olympic flame on way to Sochi I do it. When they ask me to play in World Cup I do it. I am proud that we win on Junior team and for the National team in World Championships but we do not win the most important thing yet. Olympic Gold Medal.
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 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. NHL players in the Olympics is good for hockey and good for Olympics. It sucks that will we not be there to play!!
I said every time I was asked since last Olympics that nobody is going to tell me I can’t play because my country was going to be allowed to ask me. Now the IIHF and NHL say my country is not allowed to ask anybody in the NHL to play and there is nothing to talk about anymore. 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. 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. My focus as it always is this time of year is on my other dream as a kid, to try to win the Stanley Cup. I am excited training camp has started in Washington and the time for talking is done. We just have to go out and do it and I will try my hardest to help my teammates win like I do every year since I came to the NHL.”
Ovechkin Says He Will Play In Olympics Even if There is an NHL Ban
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Ovechkin Interview: Olympics: “I Will go There”
Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis Says He Will Back Alex Ovechkin, Players Who Want to Particpate in Olympics
Understandable, but with relations the way they are between the USA and Russia, he should feel fortunate to still have a job with the NHL. Ovi isn’t a politician, he’s just a guy playing hockey, and we like that he plays for Washington, but sometimes it’s smarter to bend in the wind than to stand upright and take a full-force hit. Besides, I’m sure Russia, like other countries, has a lot of young players that have never been to the Olympics. If Ovi doesn’t go to the Olympics, he allows another young hockey player to share his dream, and that’s a mighty fine thing to do. One lesson that all people across the world should learn, is not to be selfish.
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As disappointed as Ovi is about the Olympics, he handled it professionally. I like how he honored the Capitals as an organization while expressing disappointment. Mark of a true leader
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