Fasel and Bettman at the press conference (ATR)
(ATR) Future NHL Olympic participation will not be discussed during the Sochi Olympics.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a press conference on Tuesday that the league is only focused on a successful tournament.
“It’s nothing that will be discussed while we’re here in Sochi,” Bettman confirmed.
“We’re all here to enjoy this competition.”
Bettman was joined by International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel and NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr at the briefing on the sidelines of the Sochi Games.
Bettman said all issues surrounding NHL participation at future Olympics are the same ones that have been discussed before.
The NHL has multiple concerns with the Games, including the disruption to its season, the logistical challenges and potential injury risk to the players.
Bettman said there is one issue that would prevent any talks.
“None of this moves forward at all, if it moves forward at all, if the players don’t want to play," he said.
“We’ve been very clear that the decision that has to be made is a balancing act,” he added. “Nobody has focused on the scales for what comes next at this point.”
“None of where we are in this process should be a shock to anybody.
NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr (ATR)
It’s about consensus.”
The NHL and Olympic officials negotiate player participation on a Games-by-Games basis.
Fasel said that he has “fun” during the negotiations.
PyeongChang 2018 Talks
Fehr said NHL players are not discussing participation at the 2018 Olympics.
But they are asking general questions, he said.
“How is it away, have I ever been there and don’t I know Korean baseball players,” he said.
“We’re too far away.”
He added: “These guys are focused on the next game, the next week and maybe the next season. They understand that a whole lot of them won’t be playing hockey in 2018.”
Women’s Hockey Future
Fasel and Bettman both expressed their support for the continued development of women’s ice hockey.
Fasel said he would never allow women’s ice hockey to be dropped from the Olympics.
“Perfect, that’s what I was hoping you would say,” Bettman chimed in.
Written by Ed Hula III
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