National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman has claimed there are no meetings scheduled between his organisation and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the participation of players at Pyeongchang 2018.
The appearance in South Korea of NHL players has been an ongoing dispute, with negotiations proving particularly fractious following the IOC’s decision to stop covering the cost of transportation and accommodation fees.
Bettman has expressed his indifference towards the IOC, accusing them of opening a “can of worms” by refusing to pay.
He also voiced his opposition to plans from International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel to source the required finances to help send NHL players to the Games.
NHL bosses are worried about the potential impact on their competition, which would have to shut down for two weeks to allow them to play at Pyeongchang 2018.
It appears very little progress had been made though.
“There’s absolutely nothing new,” Bettman told Canadian Press.
“And I think the overwhelming sentiment of the teams is that it’s very disruptive on the season and there’s somewhere between fatigue and negativity on the subject.”
The NHL’s deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, echoed Bettman’s thoughts that they will not send its players unless something drastic happens in the coming weeks.
“Unless something changes we’re not going,” Daly said.
“We’ve said that consistently for three months, so there’s nothing new about that.”
Players from the NHL have participated at every edition of the Winter Olympics since their debut appearance in Nagano in 1998.
Although a resolution appears a long way off, a deal for NHL players to compete at Sochi 2014 was only agreed seven months before those Games.
Fasel has also claimed the format of the competition would remain unchanged should an agreement not be reached with the NHL.
Speaking on the IIHF website in February, Fasel stated that it is likely a decision would need to be made by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association this month, but he would not give them a firm deadline.
“We held a conference call with the IIHF Council and representatives from each of the participating teams in the men’s tournament,” Fasel said.
“The majority of this group felt that the NHL will likely need to decide during the month of March because of their scheduling needs for next season.
“We also know that the European leagues and clubs need clarification as well on that important question before the end of the current season.
“However, we do not feel at this time that it would be constructive to set a hard deadline for the NHL and NHLPA to confirm their participation.”
Alan Ashley, the United States’ Chef de Mission for the Pyeongchang 2018, revealed last month that they made a “plan B” in case NHL players do not compete.
Max Winters, insidethegames.biz