In a new article in the Globe and Mail by Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press, he reports that the league is still weighing their options with respect to the 2018 Olympics and whether or not they will include NHL players. While the league has been a part of every games since 1998, with the upcoming launch of the World Cup and a debate over who should pay the fees associated with travel, insurance and accommodation, the league is unsure of its stance on heading to Pyeongchang.
Shutting down the league for weeks at a time has never been a positive thing for commissioner Gary Bettman:
It’s not good to shut down, the question is whether or not it’s worth it to go to the Olympics. You need to satisfy yourself that it’s worth it.
The players want to suit up for their country, but also have their careers and health to worry about. NHLPA president Donald Fehr spoke to the Canadian Press and said as much:
Hockey is unique in terms of the Olympics because essentially, what is being asked, is shut down for close to three weeks, shut down your revenue, change your marketing approach, run the risk that the athletes are going to be injured and that’ll affect the fortunes of their teams and … and in addition, pay a lot of money. So we’ll have to see.
It seems as though neither the NHL or NHLPA is focused on the 2018 Olympics as of right now, with both putting all their effort into the upcoming World Cup in Toronto. If the tournament is a success perhaps the need to go to the Olympics is lessened even further, with the league instead putting on their own international competition. According to Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, the sides are expected to come to a final decision in December or January.