Feb 11 2014, 6:42pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
A Feb. 11 ESPN update states the IIHF is doing everything it can to assure NHL participation in the Olympics:
"International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says he will do everything he can to persuade the NHL and its players to participate in the 2018 Olympics.
"Ultimately, though, he acknowledges it will be up to them.
"Fasel told The Associated Press on Tuesday he's looking forward to meeting with league and union officials soon.
"NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled to arrive in Russia next week to witness what might be the last Olympics with NHL players.
Fasel told The Associated Press he will stop at nothing to make sure this goal is met.
"I'm going to work hard and do the best I can to get the NHL and NHL players in Pyeongchang. I will do everything I can -- seven days a week -- until a decision is made.
"But ultimately, that decision will be made by them."
According to John Powers of The Boston Globe, it wasn't until July 2013 when the NHL affirmed it would be sending off its players to Sochi. Two factors working against the NHL are a midseason Olympic break and a long transoceanic trip to South Korea in 2018.
With this, the NHL "may have to revive the World Cup on a biennial basis since it could determine the date and control revenues, costs and scheduling," per Powers.
Fasel told Powers the urgency of the NHL deciding whether to field its players to Pyeongchang in 2018 or not since the USA and Canada will be at a disadvantage considering they have no domestic leagues to choose players from.
"We have said that right after Sochi we should come together and decide yes or no. If they decide not to come we have to find an alternative to the tournament so we have to know, especially for Canada and the U.S.
"As you know, it is easier for the European teams to select a national team to play but for Canada and the United States they do not have a (domestic) league to select players from. So to be fair to Canada and the U.S., they have to know whether they are coming and whether they have to prepare a special team to go to Korea."
For his part, NHL great and executive director of the Canadian men's hockey team Steve Yzerman told Tim Wharnsby of CBC on Feb. 19 that NHL participation in the Olympics is definitely a good thing.
"My opinion is yes, absolutely. I think this is fantastic for our league. We go back to the last year, and even beyond that, how much attention this draws, how much conversation this draws. Not only in Canada, but around the world. It promotes our league. It promotes our players. I believe it's good for our game. I believe it's good for the NHL.
"It's once every four years. I'm hopeful we can continue and go to Korea. I understand there are challenges for our league and things we'd like to improve upon with the NHL's relationship with the IIHF, the IOC."
With this, it would definitely be great to witness the NHL be an integral part of the Winter Olympics once again.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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