No NHL players to compete in 2018 Winter Olympics

It's the first time since 1994 the ice-hockey competition will feature no NHL players

No NHL players to compete in 2018 Winter Olympics

Canada's Patrick Sharp and Sweden's Carl Hagelin competing in the 2014 Olympic gold medal match. Both players compete in the NHL. Picture by: EMPICS SPORT/EMPICS Sport

The 2018 Winter Olympics has been dealt a major blow less than 12 months away from the opening ceremony.

Ice hockey is one of the most watched sports at the event. The National Hockey League have confirmed that none of their players will be allowed compete in the event for the first time since 1994.  

In 2014, all 12 competing nations had at least one NHL player in their squad, with the likes of Canada, Sweden, United States and Russia having the vast majority of their players playing in the league. 

The NHL is the only league that shuts down during the Olympics Games, and in a statement released on Monday, the league confirmed they were unwilling to do so next year during two-week event in PyeongChang.

"We have previously made clear that, while the overwhelming majority of our Clubs are adamantly opposed to disrupting the 2017-18 NHL season for purposes of accommodating Olympic participation by some NHL players", the league revealed in a statement.

"A number of months have now passed and no meaningful dialogue has materialised. Instead, the IOC has now expressed the position that the NHL’s participation in Beijing in 2022 is conditioned on our participation in South Korea in 2018."

While the future of players competing in 2022 remains unknown, the NHL have decided to make the decision earlier than they had to, in a bid to finalise next season's schedule as early as possible.

The lack of NHL players will certainly lessen the impact of the tournament in South Korea and around the rest of the world. In a sport that is looking to increase it's popularity, NHL owners have decided their best chance of doing that is through their domestic games and not on a global stage.