Bettman: Discussions about NHL participation at 2018 Olympics ‘not on the front-burner’

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For months now, the prospect of possible NHL player participation at the 2018 Olympics hasn’t been promising.

Take the remarks of commissioner Gary Bettman, as per the LA Times, at the beginning of this year’s Stanley Cup Final for example:

“For us to have to pay to go to the Olympics based on everything that’s attendant to that, putting aside the fact that we get no access to our players, we don’t get to promote the fact that we’re there, and we have to disrupt our season, as I indicated in my remarks, I don’t see the board wanting to pay for the privilege. And by the way it does cost us money now, just to deal with the things we have to deal with beyond the costs they pick up.”

Or, on the same subject, IIHF president Rene Fasel ominously saying it “doesn’t look very good.”

Or Fasel saying the International Olympic Committee won’t pay for transportation or insurance costs for NHL players in 2018.

Bettman, as outlined Wednesday by the Chicago Tribune, shed some light on the upcoming process and how the respective positions of other organizations may impact the league’s decision. But whatever discussions the NHL does get involved in with the IIHF and IOC won’t happen for a while.

From the Chicago Tribune:

On NHL players participating in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea:

“We probably won’t get to it in terms of serious discussions one way or another with players’ association and the IIHF and the IOC until winter. It’s not on the front-burner right now.”

On the hurdles of coming to an agreement to play in the Olympics:

“There have been a lot of reports about positions that either the IOC or the IIHF have or will take and that’s something we’ll have to analyze at the time we have to make the appropriate decision.”

NHL players have been participating in the Winter Olympics since 1998 in Nagano, Japan.