Darren Dreger provides NHL Olympic participation update (video)

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The IIHF and the International Olympic Committee met again Wednesday in Switzerland in ongoing talks about possible NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Games, Darren Dreger said on NBCSN.

“They’re doing their due diligence to deliver some sort of package or at least some sort of direction to the National Hockey League and the players association,” Dreger said, adding that another meeting is scheduled among the IIHF, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada next week in New York City to discuss what the NHL needs to participate in Pyeongchang.

In October, IIHF president Rene Fasel said the chances of NHL players going to the 2018 Olympics were 50-50, while NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly felt more negative.

The NHL, unhappy that the IOC is not paying NHL players’ travel and insurance as it has in the past, is expected to decide by the end of the year if it will send players to Pyeongchang.

“Don’t forget the NHL [Players Association] stake in this is significant,” Dreger said. “The players want to go. Some NHL owners don’t want to go. So we’re getting closer to a conclusion on this file, but it’s not there yet.”

MORE: 2018 Olympic men’s hockey groups set

USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

“We are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play,” the U.S. players said in a statement.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

“We ask that they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday’s meeting,” the players said in a statement. “Unless there is an agreement, the players remain resolved to bypass the defense of the world championship.”

Neither side has said when the next meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups set