Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby again should be among a legion of NHL players with the chance to become the next Olympic hero.
The NHL announced Friday the League will pause the 2013-14 regular-season schedule from Feb. 9-25 so its players can participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia. The decision to again send NHL players to the Olympics was a joint agreement between the League and the National Hockey League Players' Association.
The dozen nations competing for gold in Sochi are Russia, Slovakia, the United States, Slovenia, Finland, Canada, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia. NHL players should have a presence on each of the 12 teams.
Slovenia is participating in its first Olympic men's hockey tournament after failing to qualify for the past six. Austria is back in the tournament for the first time since 2002, and Belarus and Germany, which took part in the 2010 tournament, did not qualify for the 2014 event.