AHL play­ers el­i­gi­ble for Olympics

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

Play­ers on Amer­i­can Hockey League con­tracts will be el­i­gi­ble to play in the 2018 Win­ter Olympics.

Pres­i­dent and CEO David An­drews con­firmed through a league spokesman Wednes­day that teams were in­formed they could loan play­ers on AHL con­tracts to na­tional teams for the pur­poses of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs say­ing play­ers could only be loaned for Olympic par­tic­i­pa­tion from Feb. 5-26.

The Olympic men’s hockey tour­na­ment runs from Feb. 9-25. Like the NHL, which is not hav­ing its play­ers par­tic­i­pate for the first time since 1994, the AHL does not have an Olympic break in its sched­ule.

The AHL’s de­ci­sion does not af­fect play­ers as­signed to that league on NHL one- or two-way con­tracts. No fi­nal de­ci­sion has been made about those play­ers.

NHL Deputy Com­mis­sioner Bill Daly de­nied a Cana­dian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion re­port that the league had told its 31 teams that AHL play­ers could be loaned to play in the Olympics. It was an AHL memo sent at the di­rec­tion of that league’s board of gov­er­nors.

When the NHL an­nounced in April that it wouldn’t be send­ing play­ers to South Korea af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in five con­sec­u­tive Olympics, An­drews said the AHL was pre­pared for Canada, the United States and other na­tional fed­er­a­tions to re­quest play­ers.

“I would guess we’re go­ing to lose a fair num­ber of play­ers,” An­drews said in April. “Not just to Canada and the U.S., but we’re go­ing to lose some play­ers to other teams, as well. Ev­ery team in our league has usu­ally got two or three guys who are on re­calls to the NHL, so it’s not go­ing to re­ally change our com­pet­i­tive in­tegrity or any­thing else.”

The U.S. and Canada are ex­pected to rely heav­ily on play­ers in Euro­pean pro­fes­sional leagues and col­lege and ma­jor ju­nior hockey to fill out Olympic ros­ters with­out NHL play­ers.

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