Most people in Colorado know Matt Duchene for his time with the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he is the longest-tenured player. If you cross the border into Canada, he is something more than just an NHL player. He is a patriot in a sense, consistently answering his nation’s call to compete at the international level.

“It’s a huge honor,” Duchene told Mile High Sports of playing on Team Canada. “It’s the hardest team in the world to make. If I get the opportunity to play for Team Canada, I’m going to take it.”

And Duchene has, time and time again. Still just 26, he has already played in five World Championships, one World Cup of Hockey and a Spengler Cup; not to mention the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team. Being named to the latter team, which won gold, was “probably the biggest honor of my life,” he said.

Yet, as of right now, Duchene will not be answering his nation’s call next February, at least not with the league’s blessing.

Like most NHL players (at least the vast majority of the ones who have voiced their opinion), the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation NHLPA and millions of fans, Duchene was disappointed when Gary Bettman and the NHL announced that they would not be sending players to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. Despite the fact that Bettman considers the matter to be “closed,” Duchene is not giving up hope.

“It’s not over,” Duchene proclaimed to MHS. “I think it’s a posturing move. I think, hopefully now, the real talks can start. I know the NHLPA guys have been working hard to get us there. I’m still confident we can find a way for us to go.”

The IOC and IIHF are still hopeful talks will continue as well. If the NHL does not go, they likely will not be going to the to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing either. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews suggested that not going to Pyeongchang could be a step in the direction of another lockout.

The writing has been on the wall, in terms of the NHL’s position, for some time now. They even reintroduced their World Cup of Hockey, an attempt to replace the Olympics with a tournament which they could profit off of.

For Duchene, he isn’t sure what would happen if the NHL holds steadfast in their determination not to the 2018 Olympics. When asked if he would refuse to play in future World Cups, he paused, before saying: “As players, we’re going to be united. If no players are going to do it, then I won’t do it either.”