Winter Games negotiations stalled says NHL
By Steve Keating
TORONTO (Reuters) - The chances of the National Hockey League shutting down to allow players to compete at the 2018 Winter Games continue to dim, said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday as the decision deadlines fast approaches.
Daly, one of the chief negotiators in the Olympic talks, refused to handicap the chances of the NHL being in Pyeongchang, South Korea, saying only that he was less optimistic than Rene Fasel, when told the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) president had pegged the odds at 50-50.
"I'm not sure there has been a lot of progress made in the past six months and I'm not sure there is any prospect of any progress being made," said Daly, speaking ahead of Game One of the best-of-three World Cup final between Canada and Team Europe in Toronto.
"So on the basis of that I would say, I'm more negative today than I was two weeks ago."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was less forthcoming but backed his deputy pointing out that negotiations were currently at standstill with no firm dates set for resuming discussions.
"I'm not going to disagree with him (Daly)," said Bettman. "The last discussion we had, which was months ago, we haven't really seen any progress.
"The discussions are at a point where the IOC has made its position clear and I think it is fair to say IIHF and Rene Fasel is trying to figure out what to do."
For the moment the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has drawn a line in the sand saying no longer is it willing to cover insurance and travel costs for NHL players which have been widely estimated at around $10 million. Continued...