2014 Olympics: NHL, NHLPA Reach Agreement On Olympic Participation In Sochi

The NHL and the NHL Players Association have reached an agreement with the IIHF for 2014 Olympic participation in Sochi, Russia.

After months of lingering in a holding pattern, the National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association have finally reached an agreementwith the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on a 2014 Olympic deal, that will allow NHL players to participate in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. NHL players will be available to the 12 competing nations in the men's ice hockey tournament.

A breakdown of the competing nations, and their respective group assignments will be posted below.

Group A Group B Group C
Russia Austria Czech Republic
Slovenia Canada Latvia
Slovakia Finaland Switerzerland
United States Norway Sweden

During this time, the NHL will temporarily suspend the 2013-2014 schedule from February 9th-26th, allowing players to travel and participate in the Olympic Games. The men's preliminary games will begin on Wednesday, February 12 with a match up between Czech Republic and Sweden. The final day of the tournament will be on February 23, as the Gold Medal game is set to take place at 7:00 AM (EDT).

Below are the official statements from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr.

"The National Hockey League features the most international player population in professional sports, and our outstanding athletes take tremendous pride in representing their homelands on the global stage," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The decision to participate in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was in many ways a difficult one, but one that we know will be well received by our Players and, most importantly, by the vast majority of our fans and sports fans everywhere."

"The Players are very pleased that an agreement has been reached that will allow the world's best hockey players to compete at the Winter Games in February," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "Having the opportunity to wear their nation's sweater in Sochi is something the players look forward to."