The NHL is the biggest Hockey league in the world and what they do resonates. They could wield that influence for good or for destructive purposes. Under pressure from owners who were tired of seeing an unprofitable break in the middle of their season every four years, the league made the precedent-setting decision of dropping out of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

No Olympics next year

The decision was announced in a statement released by the NHL on Monday - the league had previously vowed to decide about their future in the international competition before the postseason began.

They had been trying to come up with a resolution that would be able to keep players in the Olympics, which occur smack in the middle of the season, but none could be reached before the league's self-imposed deadline.

Ramifications behind the decision will likely be far-reaching. The NHL players make up the brunt of the top rosters in the Olympics, meaning the caliber of play and the interest in the competition will be significantly diminished by their absence. Additionally, the United States and Canada may have a difficult time fielding rosters in 2018, since their best players all compete in the league. There's also the issue of the Beijing Games in 2022, where the league is looking to expand their market - it's unknown who will compete then at the moment.

Players react

Players in the NHL gave near unanimous dissent to the decision the league made on Monday. The most outspoken player in the immediate aftermath was New York Rangers goalie, who represents Sweden during the Olympics. He tweeted that the league was missing a tremendous opportunity to grow the game internationally.

Another critical player in the situation is Alexander Ovechkin. The Washington Capitals star has previously expressed that he would violate his NHL contract and play in the Olympics if the league pulled out, which his team owner has supported. His comments are worth paying attention to, as he could create a mutiny and headache for the league if he follows through on his promise.