ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced today that it is prepared to finalize the agreement previously reached with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) on the terms under which NHL players will participate in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at Salt Lake City, Utah. The agreement, which already has been approved by the NHL Board of Governors, is subject to ratification by the IIHF Congress and approval by the NHLPA Executive Committee.
Ratification by the IIHF Congress is expected later this week. Approval by the NHLPA Executive Committee is expected in June.
"We are pleased that the IIHF appears to have been able to work out all the final details of our Olympic participation," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We look forward to having the best hockey players in the world participate at Salt Lake City."
"It is always exciting for the fans to watch the world's best hockey players exhibit their skills on an international stage. The players are looking forward to participating in Salt Lake City in 2002 and at the World Cup of Hockey in 2004," NHL Players' Association Executive Director Bob Goodenow said.
The NHLPA, NHL, Canadian Hockey Association and USA Hockey, in cooperation with the IIHF, also have agreed to stage the second World Cup of Hockey tournament in the fall of 2004.