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Alex Ovechkin gives up 2018 Olympics dream in heartfelt statement

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The Capitals forward stated that players and fans alike all “lose” thanks to the NHL’s decision.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Washington Capitals - Game Five Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Alex Ovechkin has officially given up the dream. Late Thursday evening, the captain of the Washington Capitals and Team Russia hopeful released a statement on the 2018 Winter Olympics, via NHL.com.

In the statement, Ovechkin makes it clear that he won’t try to pursue temporary leave for the upcoming Olympics in Pyeongchang. The news comes just days after Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak said Ovechkin “has to accept” that the Olympics won’t be for him next year.

Back in April, the NHL announced it won’t be sending players from its league to the Olympics for the first time since 1994. The news didn’t come as a surprise, since the league and the International Olympic Committee were at a standstill. There have been repercussions big and small as a result of this news, and because of it, some Russian NHL hopefuls for this year have left for the KHL for the chance to play in South Korea.

Despite Capitals owner Ted Leonsis giving Ovechkin his blessing to go back in December, the forward made his decision to stick with his teammates come February. Ovechkin very well could have left for the Olympics and defied the NHL anyway, but many would have likely called the move selfish if the Capitals were fighting for a playoff spot mid-February.

Instead, Ovechkin got out on top of the story and squashed it before training camp even began.

“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,” Ovechkin said in the statement. “We should not have to be in position to make this choice.”

The statement is very much written from the heart, and it shows midway through the statement where he reflects on his disappointment with the overall situation:

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!!

Considering how many fansand players — feel about the NHL’s decision to forgo the Olympics, Ovechkin seems to hit the nail on the head in that poignant sentiment. This will be the first Winter Olympics Ovechkin has missed since his NHL career started in 2006.