The negotiations to have the NHL send its players to a sixth straight Winter Olympics has become “even more difficult” than before, says IIHF president Rene Fasel.
Speaking to Inside the Games, Fasel revealed that the International Olympic Committee has decided against paying transportation and insurance costs to have NHL players participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Games in Korea. Instead, they're leaving the tab to the IIHF and NHL.
"We had a meeting with the NHL last week and the prognosis is not really good.
"Our wish is to have the best players.
"[But the IOC] not covering the cost as they did at the last five Olympic Games puts us in a difficult financial situation.
"We still have challenges - it is even more difficult than before.”
According to Nick Butler of Inside the Games, it’s believed the IOC paid approximately $14 million on top of $18 million contributed by the IIHF on transportation and insurance to have NHL players attend the Sochi Games in 2014. Fasel believes those costs could be reduced to $10 million for PyeongChang.
The IOC's about-face has to do with their fear of other sports governing bodies putting their hands out for assistance if they continue throwing so much money hockey's way. But as Fasel points out, ice hockey is the only team sport at the Winter Games.
Despite the time difference relative to Canada and the U.S., the NHL sees the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a better marketing opportunity than PyeongChang. But Fasel urged the league in January to choose to go to both Games, not just one. "This is not a restaurant where you can choose from a menu a dish to your liking,” he said.
The NHL and the NHLPA are expected to announce a decision on participation sometime after this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, possibly around the time of September's World Cup of Hockey.
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