Two prominent international sport organizations are eager to make a deal work that would see NHL players participate at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) met in New York earlier this week with the NHL and NHLPA to discuss bringing NHL players to the next Winter Games.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday’s “Headlines” segment on “Hockey Night in Canada” that the IOC and IIHF want to address the NHL’s issues.
Friedman says concerns about player insurance, travel, highlights and the marketing rights of players are all aspects the IOC and IIHF want to be flexible on.
Friedman says the league is going to tie the matter into CBA discussions on Tuesday when it meets with the NHLPA in Toronto to further discuss the collective bargaining agreement between the two sides. The current agreement is in place through the end of the 2021-22 season.
“Even if the IOC does everything we ask for, I think the only way Olympic participation in 2022 is going to happen is if it’s really a part of a bigger negotiation with the Players’ Association where we can come back to the Board (of Governors) and say we’re recommending going to the Olympics and these are the reasons why,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com earlier this week.
“Part of it is tied to our labour situation and labour peace for an extended period of time.”
Friedman says the players’ association doesn’t think it should matter regarding getting Olympic participation into the CBA as the Games would take place before the current CBA expires.
IIHF president Rene Fasel said last month at the world junior championship that he would need a decision from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman by the end of August on what the league planned to do.
No NHLers were present during the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea with amateur and European pros being used instead. The last time NHL players participated at the Olympics was in Sochi during the 2014 Games where Canada beat Sweden for gold.
Bettman has previously cited it being disruptive for the league to put its schedule on hold for two weeks during the Olympics. However, global growth of the game has been a priority for the NHL in recent years.