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Daly: Decision on 2018 Olympics could come soon

by Shawn P. Roarke

SOCHI -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly likes what he has seen so far from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

And he says he is receiving favorable reviews from NHL players, who have now been on the ground here for two days.

"Everything is in one place and the arenas are brand-new facilities," Daly said Tuesday during an informal press conference at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the main site of the ice hockey competition. "They are gorgeous facilities and they are close to the Athletes' Village, which makes it convenient for the players. They have only been here for 24 hours, but the reports I am hearing are very positive."

Is it positive enough to commit to taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics?

A decision on the NHL sending its players to the 2018 Olympic tournament has not taken place yet, but Daly says it shouldn't be too long before the League has a solid grasp on whether it will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"I can tell you it should not take all that long, but I would have said the same thing coming out of 2010 and as you know it was not a last-minute type of thing and we did not reach agreement until July 2013," Daly said.

"I do not anticipate it will take that long and we will have a broader discussion with the [National Hockey League] Players' Association on international competition and what we are doing internationally. That discussion is underway, so I would anticipate a quick resolution in respect to the Olympics. Maybe six months."

Many issues will have to be weighed before then, including the success of the 2014 Sochi Games for the NHL and the possibility of other best-on-best international tournaments. Daly said metrics will play a part in determining the ultimate success of Sochi, but he also said other factors will go into the decision of how to proceed from here.

"It will be more of a touch-and-feel thing," Daly said.

This is the fifth straight Olympics in which the NHL has participated, beginning in 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

But the NHL is a far different business than it was at the start of the Olympic experience.

“I think [the League] has a much higher profile and as a business we are much more successful," Daly said. "We are much more visible on the world stage, so we are at a different stage in our evolution and development than we were in 1998. That is a factor that you throw into the mix when you consider whether the Olympics makes sense for you going forward."

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