NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes the league will not participate in the Olympics for the forseeable future, unless the Winter Games return to the U.S. or Canada.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are in Beijing. A decision on NHL participation there is not expected until after the PyeongChang Olympics.
Will we ever see NHL players in the Olympics again, Bettman was asked by a Swedish TV station in an interview published last week:
“I never say never, but I find it hard to envision a scenario where it makes sense, unless, possibly, if the Winter Games are back in North America where the time frame and the attention and the logistics, travel, are a lot different,” Bettman said.
Bettman was in Stockholm for the NHL Global Series. The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators played games in in the Swedish capital on Friday and Saturday.
The NHL announced in April that it would not participate in the PyeongChang Olympics, ending a streak of five straight Winter Games with participation from the league.
The NHL did not participate in Olympics prior to 1998.
In recent years, Bettman said that the NHL was more open to participating at the Beijing Olympics than the PyeongChang Winter Games.
“The question is would the fact that the Winter Olympics in Beijing would introduce that country to hockey, give us an opportunity to make a real impression in China, where hockey is really in an embryonic state?” Bettman said in November 2015. “And that’s a discussion we have to have to determine whether or not there is an opportunity to grow the game in China by using the Winter Games with NHL players as a catalyst. That’s the question. I don’t know the answer.”
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