NHL position on 2018 Olympics remains same – NHL.com
“The question is, does anything change?” Deputy Commissioner Daly said. “Do the dynamics change in such a way that we’re in a position to go back to the Board and say, ‘We understand that a number of you, a good number of you, don’t see the benefit for participation in the Olympics, this is the reason you should reconsider that and decide as to whether it’s a good thing for your club, for the League as a whole or for the game as a whole’? That can come in a variety of forms, and I’m not going to speculate how that plays out, but at least at this point nothing has happened that would change where we were three weeks ago [at the BOG meeting] in Palm Beach.”
Deputy Commissioner Daly said the NHL still expects a final decision on Olympic participation to come in January but stressed the League is not setting the deadline and is working on two versions of the 2017-18 NHL schedule, one with time in February to allow for Olympic participation and one that does not factor in the Olympics.
Deputy Commissioner Daly said the International Olympic Committee has informally asked for a decision by Jan. 15, and the NHL Players’ Association said it could wait until the end of January.
“It’s not as if we (NHL and IIHF) don’t communicate from time to time, but there’s just not been any substantive communication with respect to moving the Olympic question forward,” Deputy Commissioner Daly said.
One of the barriers holding up the decision from the League’s perspective is funding for the expenses of Olympic participation. The IOC has covered those costs in the previous five Olympics but has told the NHL it will not do so this time.
The IIHF has informed the NHL it has the ability to cover some or all of the costs associated with travel, insurance and accommodations, but Commissioner Bettman has expressed reluctance to that because he doesn’t want the IIHF to take money away from areas where it is needed, including grassroots initiatives to grow the game.
Commissioner Bettman also said the Board of Governors seem to be against suspending the 2017-18 season for almost three weeks in February when history shows the League and its teams receive no tangible benefits from participating in the Olympics.
“We haven’t heard formally from the IIHF with respect to where they are with the IOC and what exactly the nature of the expenses are,” Deputy Commissioner Daly said. “As the Commissioner alluded to, that’s not the only issue. From our Board’s perspective, there has to be a compelling reason for us to go to the Olympics, and as I stand here now, we’re still searching for that reason.”