THUNDER BAY, Ontario (AP) _ Defenseman Zarley Zalapski, the first-round choice of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1986 player draft, has decided to remain with the Canadian Olympic team this season.

The 18-year-old Zalapski, who played in four exhibition games with Pittsburgh last week, made his announcement Sunday night after Team Canada played a 3-3 tie with the NHL's Minnesota North Stars.

A spokesman for Team Canada said Zalapski had committed to the Canadian team through the 1988 Olympics. But Zalapski, the first defenseman taken in the draft, said only that he planned to play for Team Canada this season.

''It would be a great experience to play in the Olympics, but it would be foolish to commit myself right now,'' he said. ''I'm going to see how things go this season.''