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Gretzky NHL players in Olympics ’much better for everyone’

BEIJING — Wayne Gretzky says the NHL should again allow its players to compete in the winter Olympics because sending the world’s top hockey players is “always much better for everyone.”

Speaking to The Associated Press, the National Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer says he hopes the league and players association can “somehow figure this out.”

Gretzky was visiting Beijing on Thursday in his role as global ambassador for Beijing’s Kunlun Red Star of the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League.

He will also attend a pre-season game between the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames in the southern city of Shenzhen.

It marks the second consecutive year the NHL has played in China, which is seeking to promote the sport ahead of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The NHL barred its players from playing in this year’s Winter Games at Pyeongchang, South Korea.