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NHL participation in Olympics still to be decided

by Dan Rosen

COLUMBUS -- The decision to bring back the World Cup of Hockey in 2016 does not factor into the NHL's potential participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday.

"We have had no discussions and made no decision, and this decision has no bearing on whether we will return to the next Olympics," Commissioner Bettman said. "It's something we [the NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association] still have to discuss."

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said there are mitigating factors that are currently preventing the NHL and NHLPA from discussing future Olympic participation, particularly the fact that there is a new president of the International Olympic Committee and the South Korea Olympic Organizing Committee has not weighed in on what it wants in a men's hockey tournament.

"So as an initial matter I think both us and the Players' Association want to hear where the IOC and the South Korea organizing committee are with respect to having NHL players at the Olympics," Daly said. "A lot of accommodations were made to pick up expenses to make sure they had the best players in Sochi; I'm not sure the same commitment is going to be there from the international community on this one. We're going to try to gauge we are on that, and at least to this point the IOC is not ready to have that discussion. That's down the road a little bit."

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane said the best of both worlds would be to have best-on-best international competition every two years, with the World Cup in 2016 and the Olympics in 2018.

"It'd be something I think a lot of players would enjoy," Kane said. "The Olympics is still obviously three years away and it's something that we really can't control if we're not involved.

"I think we want to be involved, we want to be there, we want to be representing our country at the highest level and the biggest stage, so hopefully it can all work out."


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