The 2018 Winter Olympics starts on February 9 from Pyeongchang, South Korea. The games will end on February 25 with the closing ceremonies. With this in mind, we are highlighting the Men’s Ice-Hockey Tournament,which will commence on February 14 with preliminary round action: Team USA vs. Slovenia. While the tourney will not feature NHL players, it is still sure to be an exciting and must-watch event. Here are the networks that will cover the games in their entirety:

  • NBC – NBCSN – NBC Universo
  • CNBC – MSNBC – Telemundo
  • USA – Olympic Channel (check your cable channel line-up)

Men’s Hockey Qualified Nations

Twelve nations have qualified to participate in the tournament. Eight of the countries qualified automatically due to their International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) rankings. South Korea, of course, qualified automatically as the host nation, while three others participated in a qualification tournament. The qualified nations are as follows:

  • South Korea – host
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • USA
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Germany
  • Norway

Sweden, Finland, Canada, Russia, USA, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Slovakia are the eight nations that qualified due to their IIHF rankings. Slovenia, Germany and Norway qualified via the final qualification tournament.

The NHL Absence

The NHL has participated in five consecutive Olympic Tournaments over the last 20 years. However, they have prohibited any player under NHL contract to participate in the 2018 Olympics. This is due to scheduling issues with the League – and an arrangement was made with the IIHF and International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to ask any NHL players to participate.

However, the Russian-based KHL -considered the second best hockey league in the world – will allow its players to participate in the Olympics. This, of course, will be a 33-day break from League competition.

Tournament Groups

Group A

  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • South Korea – host

Group B

  • Russia
  • USA
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Group C

  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Germany

Group A and Group C matches will start on February 15, while Group B games will commence on February 14 with USA versus Slovenia. For a full schedule of games and timings (EST), simply visit this link.

There will also be eight women’s teams competing in their own tournament. Each team is allowed a maximum of 22 players and three goaltenders on their roster. Up to five players – from each team – may skate on the ice at one time with their goalies as sixth players. Each game consists of three 20 minute periods. For more information, visit NBCOlympics.com or check out the NBC Sports app to stay on top of all Olympic hockey action!

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