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NHL, IIHF to continue talks about Sochi Olympics

February 15, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • The NHL is still considering whether it should shut down for two-plus weeks next season to allow its players to take part in the 2014 Sochi Games.
The NHL is still considering whether it should shut down for two-plus weeks…

Representatives of the International Ice Hockey Federation, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Assn. ended two days of meetings about NHL players’ participation in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics with cordial comments and an understanding that they will talk again next week.

IIHF President Rene Fasel and the organization’s general secretary, Horst Lichtner, were in New York Thursday and Friday to discuss how the sides might resolve the issues that have divided them. The NHL and the union have been critical of policies that gave them little access to its players during the Games. In addition, the NHL and its players receive no financial benefits from players’ participation and the league has sought a share of revenues from such sources as video and photo images.

Fasel said last week that the IIHF would like a decision to be made by May for marketing and planning purposes.

NHL players have participated in the last four Winter Games, but the league considers the long distance to the Russian city of Sochi and the fact that games would not be televised live during prime-time hours in North America to be drawbacks that would limit the potential gains of shutting down the league for two-plus weeks next February to let players represent their homelands.

“Yes, we had a good discussion over two days and we plan to touch base again next week,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Friday via email. “I think we are conceptually in agreement on the broader issues and concerns, and now we will try to work through the details on a more granular level.”

Fasel, in a series of tweets on the IIHF’s Twitter account, said he was satisfied with the two days of discussions.

“Meetings were held in a very constructive and positive atmosphere. All parties put all their concerns and issues on the table,” he said. “Now all parties are going back to work on details in order to put together an agreement. Still lot of work to be done.”

He added,  "There is no deadline, but obviously we are under a certain time pressure. Olympics one year from now. I remain confident.”

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