Who’s going to Pay?
The NHL has paused their season to attend the Winter Olympics since 1998. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) & International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) have funded Player logistics (Travel, Insurance, Accommodation & Hospitality) during those 5 consecutive NHL player appearances at the Olympic Games.
Things have changed since Thomas Bach became the IOC President in 2013. Bach is a German lawyer, who is also an Olympic Gold Medalist in the sport of fencing. He spearheaded the Munich2018 bid, which fell short of votes to PyeongChang, South Korea as the 2018 host city.
Thoughts on costs from the NHL Commissioner:
“many, many, many millions of dollars ... i’m pretty sure our teams are not interested in paying for the privilege of disrupting our season ..” - Gary Bettman (via NHL.com)
IIHF President is working alongside IOC President on who will foot the bill:
“It’s not a big progress, but we will get there ... not easy, i expected it to be a little bit more easy, still i’m confident” - Rene Fasel (IIHF President) (via Sportsnet)
Players Gonna Play
I asked Ovechkin twice, the 2nd time to be sure, and he said his plan would be to play in South Korea 2018 regardless if NHL there or not— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 15, 2016
Alexander Ovechkin is going to the Olympics whether the NHL likes it or not. He was vocal during Sochi2014, and says PyeongChang2018 is no different.
“The same situation was with the Sochi games, they said NHL could not be allowed to come ... Anyway, I and other players will definitely come [to South Korea for the Winter Olympic Games]” - Alexander Ovechkin #8 (via Sportsnet)
Piggy Bank Thoughts
NHL franchise owners looking for more than a penny for their thoughts. Financially it makes no sense to pause the NHL season for 2 weeks, and send their top players to the world show - risking apparent insult - to injury.
On the plus side - the spotlight on the players in the grandstand show tends to have a trickle up effect on individual players’ team memorabilia sales.
Bettman has been in talks with the NHLPA on extending the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is due to expire in 2022 - before allowing players to head to the Olympic Games. A move that would help fill the piggy banks of owners using a word players dislike - escrow - an agreement in the CBA which facilitates in divvying profits 50/50 between owners & players, acting as a benchmark model for salary caps.
Whether the NHL agrees to send it’s players to PyeongChang2018 will have no bearing on Beijing2022, says Bettman, who recognizes China as an emerging hockey market.
The next meeting of the heads takes place in early December, in Florida.
“Iggy to Crosby” for the Gold Medal! Vancouver2010 Olympic win for Team Canada.