Hockey fans might not have to wait too much longer to find out whether or not the NHL will allow its players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
International Ice Hockey Federation president René Fasel said last week he needed an answer by the end of April and according to Elliotte Friedman, the NHL could announce its decision in the next 7-10 days.
“The National Hockey League does not want this overshadowing the playoffs,” Friedman said during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Reuters earlier this month that people should assume NHLers will be staying home in 2018.
It’s not ideal for the league to shut down its operations for two weeks in the middle of the season, especially when it’s not financially advantageous.
“I’ve suggested why don’t you treat us like a top sponsor,” Bettman said. “When the [International Olympic Committee] comes to us and says, ‘By the way we know it cost $15-20 million to send your players between insurance, charter costs and accommodations for the players,’…well we’re not going to pay for that.
“If they don’t value our participation why are we going?”
In addition to the issue of money, many team owners dislike the inherent risk of sending their best players to the Olympics so close to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.