IIHF explores options with NHLPA, IOC about 2018 Olympics

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The IIHF said it is “exploring options” with the NHL Players’ Association and the IOC and still “keeping the door open” for NHL participation at the 2018 Olympics.

On Friday, a German report quoted IIHF president Rene Fasel as saying ongoing talks to overturn the NHL’s decision not to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Games had a July deadline.

Fasel was speaking at the IIHF world championship co-hosted by France and Germany.

The IIHF later denied that talks were happening between the IIHF and the NHL. The IIHF did not confirm or deny the July deadline.

The NHL said in an April 3 statement that it intended to proceed without taking an Olympic break in 2018 and considered the matter “officially closed.” That would snap a streak of five straight Winter Olympics with NHL participation starting in 1998.

The NHL previously asked for concessions (mostly financially driven) from the IOC, IIHF or the NHLPA to entice NHL owners and officials to take a break in its season to accommodate the Olympics for a sixth straight time.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman followed up on April 21 by saying it’s too late for the league to change its mind, even if a new, sweetened deal is offered by the IOC, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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