Daly: NHL participation at Olympics still 'a work in progress'
NHL participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics still isn't a sure thing.
Neither NHL commissioner Gary Bettman nor his deputy, Bill Daly, sounded overly optimistic while discussing the prospects of going to Beijing.
"It's still very much a work in progress," Daly said Monday, per Sportsnet. "All parties are engaged. You know what the league's traditional and historical position has been on the Olympics. We remain of that view. In fact, with the future Games in Beijing and the continued uncertainty with the virus and the games being halfway around the world, (it's) not necessarily an ideal Games to elect to go to."
Participation at the 2022 and 2026 Games was part of the NHL's four-year CBA extension with the players' association in July 2020, but that was pending an agreement with IOC.
"We negotiated in good faith with the players' association last summer," Daly said. "We agreed that if the conditions were right and we could reach agreement on all the material issues, that we would commit and support going to the Olympics, and that remains our position."
He added, "Time is running very short, so hopefully we'll have some resolution soon."
The NHL is forced to take an extended break in the middle of its season in order to accommodate Olympic participation. The league also doesn't get to capitalize on the revenue generated from the games, and the uncertainty is problematic for Bettman.
"We don't know, as of right now, and that's causing us, in addition to consternation, a fair number of issues relative to getting next season up and running," Bettman said. "It's reaching the point that we're getting concerned about the impact on next season."
The NHL is already in the process of creating its 2021-22 schedule. Bettman announced Monday dates for two outdoor games and that the All-Star Game would be held in Las Vegas.
"We have real concerns about whether or not it's sensible to be participating, having our players participate and us shutting down for the Olympic break," Bettman added. "But, as Bill said, we made a promise that if it can all be worked out, then we'll go along with it. But we are concerned."
Canada won the last two Olympic gold medals that included NHLers: 2014 in Sochi and 2010 in Vancouver. The league didn't partake in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
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