NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday to assume the league will not send players to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, according to Reuters.
“As things stand now people should assume we are not going,” Bettman said, according to the report.
That statement is in line with other comments from Bettman and other NHL officials over the last several months. If the status quo is unchanged, they have said they don’t plan to participate in a sixth straight Olympics in PyeongChang.
The NHL has not definitively said it will not participate, but Bettman has said there are no negotiations with Olympic or International Ice Hockey Federation officials planned. He repeated that Tuesday, according to Reuters. The last formal talks were in early February.
Bettman has cited “fatigue” among team owners about repeatedly taking a break during the season to send players to the Olympics.
Other issues named by Bettman and other league and team officials include injury risk, a lack of exposure and benefit for the NHL, the league’s inability to use the Olympics for marketing due to sponsorship rules and money.
“If they don’t value our participation why are we going,” Bettman said, according to Reuters. “From our standpoint there may not be any next steps.”
Four years ago, the NHL didn’t announce until seven months before the Sochi Olympics that it was participating in those Winter Games. But the NHL and Olympic officials had a handshake agreement one year before Sochi, according to Sportsnet.
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