National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman is advising fans to brace for the 2018 Winter Olympics to take place without NHL players in Pyeongchang.
Speaking to Reuters in New York on Tuesday at the Sports Business Summit, Bettman said “people should assume” the NHL is not going to play in the Games for the first time since 1998.
"There are no negotiations ongoing," Bettman said. "We were open to having discussions on a variety of things that might mitigate the damage to our season but that had no resonance. As things stand now people should assume we are not going."
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach met with NHL and NHLPA officials in New York on Feb. 3 for what he called a “courtesy meeting.” Bach said he would leave the negotiations in the hands of the International Ice Hockey Federation, the NHL and the NHLPA. There have been no reported meetings since.
Negotiation Window Still Open
Puck drop in Pyeongchang is set for Feb. 9, 2018. TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie said Monday the sides likely have two to three weeks left to negotiate before the final deadline is met.
Multiple NHL players have expressed their interest in playing at the Games.
Bettman has argued the tournament is extremely disruptive to the NHL season and comes at a time without competition for viewership from the NFL and MLB.