After a group met today to discuss options regarding NHL player participation in the next Olympic games, the league put forward an offer that would see the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) extended in exchange for their blessing. Elliotte Friedman was first to report on the offer, with Chris Johnston offering up confirmation from Donald Fehr (head of the NHLPA).
Just yesterday, IIHF president Rene Fasel had promised that the Olympic organization would cover the costs of players attending the games, something that had been the biggest sticking point thus far. While this came as a sign of hope in the last few moments of negotiations, Fasel now left the meetings feeling less than optomistic.
The offer, as Friedman hears, would be to extend the current agreement by three years, which may just represent the full term of the deal as originally written. The deal runs until 2022, though each side currently has an opt-out date in September of 2019.
By all accounts, this seems like a hard stance by the NHL to lock in the high escrow period they’re currently in. In putting an option of agreeing to an extension or sacrificing playing for your country, it’s backed the NHLPA into a media and fan frenzied corner that it’ll be hard to walk out of. If they turn down the offer, and try to work out another way to head to the 2018 Olympics (one which seems unlikely at this point), they’d be seen as money-hungry and non-patriotic, something they’ve worked extremely hard to prevent over the past decade.
For fans, it would be a perfect scenario. The league ensures that there isn’t a lockout or work stoppage for another three seasons, while getting to watch the best players in the world compete on the grandest of stages. In practice, it’s not that simple for the NHLPA or the IIHF, and more work will need to be done over the coming days and weeks.