Limited progress appears to have been achieved in discussions over National Hockey League (NHL) participation at Pyeongchang 2018 following another series of key meetings between stakeholders in New York City.
Representatives from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), NHL and NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) and both the Canadian and United States national governing bodies came together for what was hailed as another important step on the path to a final decision expected in January.
A dispute continues over who will pay transportation and insurance costs which had previously been covered by the IOC.
“It’s not a big progress, but we will get there,” said IIHF President René Fasel afterwards.
“Nobody said it would be easy.”
Fasel estimates these costs will come to around $10 million due to the long flights involved.
He claimed he will be able to raise the money himself through IIHF funds and by soliciting help within the ice hockey and from other supporters.
But the NHL representatives are thought to have warned them that they do not want funds to be taken from other ice hockey development projects.
Most players are thought to want to play, but powerful club owners are believed to be far less enthusiastic.
Time does remain to reach a deal, however,.
An agreement was reached for Sochi 2014 just seven months before the Opening Ceremony.
Website Sportsnet has also reported that the NHL could allow participation in return for NHLPA approval for an extension to their collective bargaining agreement.
This was last negotiated during a strike that led to almost half of the 2012-2013 season being missed and is due to expire in 2022.
Both the NHL and NHLPA can opt out in 2020, meaning Olympic participation could be used as a bargaining tool.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.