Canadian Prime Minister urges Bettman to allow Olympic participation

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With the NHL still in talks about the possibility of playing in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper weighed in on the matter.

Harper wants to see Canadian NHL stars get a chance to represent their country in Russia and has urged NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to make that a reality, according to the Associated Press.

Whether or not Harper gets his way remains to be seen, but he might not have to wait much longer for an answer.

Bob Nicholson, an IIHF competition committee member and the president Hockey Canada, expects a decision on the matter before the men’s world championship starts on May 3.

“It’s not a deadline for us, but it certainly helps us,” Nicholson said in a Toronto Star report. “If the NHL players are going to the Olympics we have our management staff in place and it certainly helps us get the players we want there.”

IIHF president Rene Fasel agrees with Nicholson.

“We’re still hoping to have an answer before the start of the world championship, which is the end of this month,” Fasel said.

“There’s really a lot to discuss. There are a number of partners involved, so it’s not so easy — the IOC, us, the NHL and NHLPA and everybody is busy at this time of year.”

Related:

Sochi 2014: Travel still an issue for NHL

‘Productive’ meetings wrap in Sochi, but no NHL participation agreement yet

Report: NHL participation in Sochi “just short of a foregone conclusion”