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No progress on NHL in 2018 Olympics

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says 'time is very short to make a decision'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

TORONTO -- There has been no progress in discussions between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee regarding potential participation of NHL players in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday.

IIHF president Rene Fasel told The Associated Press on Tuesday the odds of NHL players going to South Korea are 50-50.

"I'm not going to handicap it," Daly said, "but what I'd say is, I think time is very short to make a decision, and I'm not sure there's been a lot of progress made in the past six months, and I'm not sure there is any prospect of progress being made.

"On the basis of that, I would say I'm more negative today than I was two weeks ago."

At the heart of the issue is the IOC refusing to cover the travel and contract insurance expenses it has covered in the previous five Olympics that have included NHL players. Daly also said the NHL wants to know more about accommodations typically made for players and their guests, along with the physical layout of the Olympics.

Daly said the NHL met with the IIHF here during the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and has discussed setting a date for future meetings with the NHL. He said the NHL has no plans at this time to sit down with the IOC.

"We got an update from the International Ice Hockey Federation as to their most recent conversations with the IOC, and it doesn't seem as if there has been much progress made in terms of the elements that we've typically had," Daly said.

"It's something they felt was appropriate for five consecutive Olympics. To change course now is difficult."

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The IOC is under new leadership. Former IOC president Jacques Rogge handled the negotiations with the IIHF and NHL for the previous four Winter Olympics. Thomas Bach replaced Rogge as IOC president in September 2013.

Daly would not put a deadline date on when a resolution must be reached, but he said earlier is better, and going to the end of the calendar year could be problematic because of the need to establish an NHL schedule for the next season.

"I'm certainly hoping in the November-December timeframe," Daly said. "I might be a little more manic on that issue than others because we have a schedule to create for [2017-18] and that changes a lot depending on whether or not we go to the Olympics. Our clubs are looking for certainty as to when to schedule their preseason games. We've got to know how to schedule the regular season. So the urgency for me is a little higher than it might be for others."

Daly also wouldn't rule out the NHL stepping away from the Olympics in 2018 but returning four years later, when the games will be held in Beijing, a market that could represent international growth for the NHL.

"We've been very open with respect to the fact that when the IOC awarded the Beijing games it certainly created a bigger opportunity than we thought existed potentially before," Daly said, "but it also is possible that you don't go to one Olympics and you do go to the other. I don't think anybody has ruled that out as a possibility. We'll kind of see how it plays out."

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