Dick Pound was in the spotlight last week after harshly criticizing the NHL in an op-ed column he wrote for the Montreal Gazette regarding the league not sending its players to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
Well, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) senior member doubled down on his comments during a Tuesday appearance on Prime Time Sports.
“I think ultimately they have betrayed their fan base, their global fan base, and they’ve betrayed the players that would like to have this unique chance to represent their country in the Olympics,” Pound said. “I think that ultimately translates into bad business because there’s a price for ignoring your players and your fans and they’ve got to think about that. I don’t think they have.”
Pound’s latest comments come one day after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press that players with active NHL contracts, including players in the minors, would not be permitted to participate—even if they had permission from their individual team owner.
One major sticking point in NHL-IOC negotiations earlier this year involved intellectual property rights. Another was the NHL potentially wanting financial compensation for sending its players overseas.
“I think it’s all money and I think the approach by the NHL scared the IOC and they could see the potential of a floodgates situation where by OK so now hockey insists on being paid for its players to come, what about tennis? What about beach volleyball? What about basketball?” Pound said. “At that point the IOC says, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, we’re delighted to have you here and participating but you’ve got to participate on the same basis as everybody else.’”
Alex Ovechkin, Erik Karlsson and Connor McDavid were among the many NHL stars on record saying they were hoping to participate in the next Games.