The NHL Players' Association, as anticipated, has rejected the league's proposal to extend the collective bargaining agreement three years in exchange for Olympic participation.
The news was the result largely expected from the moment the NHLPA received a verbal offer from the league, in large part because of the players' unhappiness with escrow payments in the CBA.
The NHLPA discussed the offer internally in a number of calls before making its decision. The union informed the NHL officially on Friday of the offer's rejection, an NHLPA spokesman told ESPN.com.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr told The Canadian Press the players had very little interest in the league's offer but that he hopes "we'll still be able to conclude an agreement to go to the Olympics.
"We still think it's important [to participate in the 2018 Winter Games], and we'll go from there."
NHL team owners will gather Dec. 8-9 for the board of governors meetings in South Florida, where the Olympics will be a front-burner topic on the agenda, although it's not clear whether an actual vote or decision will come from it.
All parties agree a decision must be made before the end of January.