Bettman: Olympics, ‘not even on the agenda’ for BOG

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined Tim and Sid to preview All-Star Weekend and update the latest on the potential of NHL players not participating in the 2018 Olympics.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman joined Gord Stellick and John Shannon on Hockey Central at Noon on Friday to discuss everything from potential NHL Olympic participation to growing up a Rangers fan in New York City.

As part of All-Star Weekend, Bettman, the NHL and its board of governors will meet in Los Angeles. The commissioner was asked to touch on whether or not participation in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea would be a topic of discussion.

“Actually it’s not even on the agenda. There’s nothing new since the board meeting in December,” Bettman said. “There have been no substantive discussions on the subject with either the IOC (International Olympic Committee) or Players’ Association.

“So, there’s really nothing going on and that’s what I’m going to tell the board.”

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the NHL and the players’ participation in next year’s winter Olympics after talks stalled in December, when the players reportedly turned down the league’s offer of extending the current Collective Bargaining Agreement by three years in exchange for Olympic participation.

Bettman also touched on these topics, among other things, while on the show:

On his favourite team and players growing up in New York City

“In this position, I never allow myself to be accused of showing favouritism to anyone, but I grew up in New York, so you can draw your own conclusions as to who I was following and why. I used to go to the old Garden (Madison Square Garden) on my GO card, which is what they gave students in the New York City public schools.

“For 50 cents, you could get a GA (general admission) ticket to Madison Square Garden sporting events. I’d go earlier, because seats were unassigned, I’d bring dinner, in the form of a sandwich in a brown bag, and you’d sit there and do your homework because you got there two hours early.”

On recent success of the NHL All-Star Game

“I think we really hit upon something last year in Nashville. It got universal acclaim in terms of being fun and in terms of being entertaining. The players enjoyed the experience and the fans reacted to that.

“An All-Star Game is supposed to be a celebration of the sport, and that’s what this has become.”

On potential outdoor games and games in Europe involving Montreal and Ottawa

“If we’re going to do those games, it would be for next season, so we would probably do it in conjunction with next year’s schedule or if there’s reason to announce something earlier, we would.

“Nothing has been finalized.”


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