NHL not going to 2018 Olympics in South Korea

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UNDATED (AP) -- The NHL is taking a pass on next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have informed NHL Players Association officials that the matter was "officially closed" after weeks of speculation. The league said no meaningful dialogue had emerged in talks with the NHLPA, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation.

The decision has been met by derision from the union and agents who say the NHL is ignoring the marketing opportunities to grow the popularity of the sport and the league. The IIHF had agreed to pay for players' travel and insurance costs when the IOC refused. However the NHL had been looking for more concessions that were believed to include marketing opportunities tied to the Games.

NHL players had participated in the previous five Olympics dating to 1998. Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH'-kihn) has said he plans to go regardless of NHL participation.