New York • NHL stars will again play in the Olympics next year in Sochi.
The league and the players' association announced Friday that they'd reached a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation for the world's best players to take part in the 2014 Games in Russia.
It marks the fifth straight Olympics dating to Nagano in 1998 that the NHL will allow its players to participate. The league will take a break from the regular season Feb. 9 and return to action Feb. 26. The hockey tournament runs Feb. 12-23.
More than 120 NHL players are expected to represent their countries in Sochi.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the decision "difficult" but one that will be popular with players and fans.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr says that "having the opportunity to wear their nation's sweater in Sochi is something the players look forward to."