Players from the American Hockey League have been granted permission to play in Pyeongchang ©AHL

Ice hockey players contracted to the American Hockey League (AHL) will be granted permission to represent their national teams at February's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, it has been confirmed. 

The AHL is a 30-team professional league based in the United States and Canada that is the foremost developmental league for the National Hockey League (NHL).

A spokesperson confirmed that a memo has been sent to every club explaining how players could be loaned for Olympic participation from February 5 to 26.

No break will be incorporated into the AHL season, meaning that teams could be without their best players during the Games. 

It comes as the world's biggest stars from the NHL remain barred from competing after the failure of talks to reach a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

NHL players have featured at every Winter Olympics since first appearing at Nagano 1998.

But an IOC decision to stop paying transportation and insurance costs prompted the breakdown in talks.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced in April that their athletes would not officially be allowed to compete at the event in South Korea.

A decision has not yet been made about AHL players assigned to the league from NHL clubs on one or two-way contracts. 

Many NHL players, including Russian star Alexander Ovechkin, are still keen to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images
Many NHL players, including Russian star Alexander Ovechkin, are still keen to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

An olive branch may still be possible, however, after Russian Sport Express writer Alexei Shevchenko claimed that a second schedule for the next NHL season has been drawn up incorporating a break for the Olympics.

Citing anonymous NHL players from Russia, he claimed that the "secret" second schedule will be used if an 11th hour deal can be reached for Olympic participation.

It is still considered unlikely, however, that this will ultimately happen.

IIHF President René Fasel said in May that a final decision on whether players will take part must be made by mid-July at the absolute latest.

Players including Russia and Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin have criticised the failure to reach a deal and claimed that they will participate anyway.

"I'm going," Ovechkin said in April.

"I didn’t change my mind and I won’t.

"I think the situation was the same before Sochi [in 2014]. 

"They try to do some deals...I'm pretty sure everything is going to be fine. 

"They just want some big story about it."