The NHL announced Monday that it will not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, saying it sees no tangible benefit in halting its season for three weeks in February despite clear signs from the world’s best players that they want to go.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly informed NHL Players’ Association officials that the matter was “officially closed” after weeks of speculation. The NHL had allowed its players to participate in the past five Olympics dating to 1998, giving the Winter Games pro-level star power akin to the NBA players who participate in the Summer Olympics.
The league said no meaningful dialogue had emerged in talks with the NHLPA, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation. Even after the IIHF had agreed to pay for players’ travel and insurance costs when the IOC refused, the NHL had been looking for more concessions that were believed to include marketing opportunities tied to the Games.
When there was little progress to report on that front, the league wanted to close the matter before the playoffs, which begin April 13. Messages seeking comment from the NHLPA and IIHF were not immediately returned.
Federer will sit for 2-month clay season
In a concession to age, 35-year-old Roger Federer plans to step away from the tour for at least the next eight weeks. He’s dominating a young man’s sport and won his third title of the year Sunday at the Miami Open, but he wants to pace himself.
Plus, with 7-year-old twin daughters and 2-year-old twin sons, Federer has other things to do.
“The body needs a break, the mind needs a break, the family needs me again,” he said. “I want to be there. I’m looking forward to that now.”
•Second-seeded Johanna Konta has withdrawn from the Volvo Car Open because of a sore shoulder.
The Australian-born Briton is coming off the biggest title of her 11-year career. She beat Caroline Wozniacki in the Miami Open final Saturday to move to No. 7 in the rankings.
Colleges: Cal senior Ryan Murphy was named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year for the third year in a row. Murphy closed out his college career by winning two backstroke titles at the NCAA championships.
WNBA: The Los Angeles Sparks have hired former Wisconsin women’s coach Bobbie Kelsey as an assistant.
NFL: Tennessee agreed to terms with cornerback Demontre Hurst, who spent the past four seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Soccer: The U.S. Soccer Federation finalized its decision to play its June 8 qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago at Commerce City, Colorado. The Americans play three days later at Mexico. In preparation for the matches, the U.S. is likely to play an exhibition earlier in June at Sandy, Utah.
Courts: Lawyers for former NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez began presenting their defense at his double-murder trial Monday with a fan who said Hernandez was polite and calm the night he is accused of gunning down two men after a brief encounter at a Boston nightclub.