NEW YORK/TORONTO -- The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that an agreement has been reached with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to secure participation of NHL players in the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
NHL players will be available to the 12 participating IIHF Member National Associations for the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament (February 12-23, 2014). This will mark the fifth consecutive time dating back to Nagano 1998 that NHL players have participated in the Olympics. More than 120 NHL players are expected to compete for their respective nations in Sochi.
"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."
The NHL will break from the 2013-14 regular season schedule on February 9 and return to play February 26 to allow for participation in the Games.
As part of the IIHF-NHL-NHLPA agreement, seven NHL referees and six NHL linesmen will be integrated into the IIHF on-ice officials' crews that will work the men's tournament. The Olympic ice hockey tournament will be played according to the IIHF rulebook on international sized rinks, 60 x 30 meters.
The groups and schedule of the men's ice hockey tournament is below. Twelve teams in three groups will participate in the men's event (February 12-23). The women's tournament will consist of eight teams in two groups (February 8-20).
NBCUniversal, the Olympics rights holder in the U.S., and CBC/Radio-Canada, the Olympics rights holder in Canada, will present coverage of the Olympic ice hockey tournament in their respective countries. Schedules for each network will be released at a later date.
Group A Group B Group C
Russia Austria Czech Republic
Slovenia Canada Latvia
Slovakia Finland Switzerland
United States Norway Sweden
Men's Preliminary Round Schedule
WED, FEB 12
1 12:00 PM ET Czech Republic vs. Sweden
2 12:00 PM ET Latvia vs. Switzerland
THU, FEB 13
3 3:00 AM ET Finland vs. Austria
4 7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovenia
5 7:30 AM ET Slovakia vs. United States
6 12:00 PM ET Canada vs. Norway
FRI, FEB 14
7 3:00 AM ET Czech Republic vs. Latvia
8 7:30 AM ET Sweden vs. Switzerland
9 12:00 PM ET Canada vs. Austria
10 12:00 PM ET Norway vs. Finland
SAT, FEB 15
11 3:00 AM ET Slovakia vs. Slovenia
12 7:30 AM ET United States vs. Russia
13 12:00 PM ET Switzerland vs. Czech Republic
14 12:00 PM ET Sweden vs. Latvia
SUN, FEB 16
15 3:00 AM ET Austria vs. Norway
16 7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovakia
17 7:30 AM ET Slovenia vs. United States
18 12:00 PM ET Finland vs. Canada
Qualification play-off - TUE, FEB 18
19 3:00 AM ET TBD
20 7:30 AM ET TBD
21 12:00 PM ET TBD
22 12:00 PM ET TBD
Quarterfinals - WED, FEB 19
23 3:00 AM ET TBD
24 7:30 AM ET TBD
25 12:00 PM ET TBD
26 12:00 PM ET TBD
Semifinals - FRI, FEB 21
27 7:00 AM ET TBD
28 12:00 PM ET TBD
Bronze Medal Game - SAT, FEB 22
29 10:00 AM ET TBD
Gold Medal Game - SUN, FEB 23
30 7:00 AM ET TBD
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