VIDEO: NHL threatens to skip Olympics unless IOC pays player expenses

Bettman says pro hockey participation will likely hinge on money




NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said NHL participation in the next Olympics would likely hinge on money.

In his annual state of the union address at the Stanley Cup final, Bettman said the league and NHL Players’ Association might have to reconsider their participation in the Olympics if the International Olympic Committee went ahead with its threat of not paying out-of-pocket expenses for NHL players.

“Among the various things that have to be covered, whether it’s transportation or insurance or accommodation, it’s many, many, many millions of dollars,” Bettman said of the expenses. “This is no small-ticket item.”

IIHF president Rene Fasel recently revealed that the IOC and their president Thomas Bach aren’t interested in paying costs — transportation and insurance chiefly — that have been covered for the past five Olympics.

Bach took over the IOC’s presidency shortly before the 2014 Olympics and evidently doesn’t believe, according to Bettman, in “special subsidies” for any sports, even the NHL, which interrupts its season for participation in the Olympics.

Bettman said that resolution of the expense issue would “have a significant impact on our decision,” which is expected sometime after the September World Cup, likely in December or January, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

“I’m pretty sure that our teams are not really interested in paying for the privilege of disrupting our season,” Bettman said. “But we’ll have to see what they ultimately decide to do.”

The 2018 Olympics will be held in South Korea. Bettman also noted that expenses wouldn’t be the sole issue of debate in discussions between the NHL and NHLPA as it relates to Olympic participation, but said that if the IOC and IIHF aren’t going to cover what they’ve previously paid, “that almost becomes an easy showstopper and you don’t even have to get into the other discussion.”

“Everybody understands what distinguishes us from any other professional sports league or professional sport that participates in the Olympics, this comes right in the middle of the season and there are hard costs to that participation,” Bettman said. “We’re sending roughly 150 players to the Olympics if we go and there are real, logistical, costly elements to doing that.”

Bettman offered a more definitive timetable on a decision for expansion. He said the NHL’s Board of Governors would meet in Las Vegas prior to June 22 NHL awards with a decision on expansion, which could include Las Vegas and Quebec City.

The three possibilities, he said, were no expansion, deferred expansion or expansion to one or perhaps both markets.

“I am not going to handicap what’s going to happen,” Bettman said. Daly said the NHL and NHLPA discussed what the parameters of a potential expansion draft would look like.

No-trade clauses, Daly noted, would not prevent a player from being exposed to expansion.

“A trade is a trade, and if you have a no-trade clause it doesn’t mean you can’t be exposed in the expansion draft,” Daly said.

The earliest any expansion team could start playing is the 2017-18 season with deferral also a possibility on the docket.

As for the upcoming World Cup and one roster question mark, Bettman stressed that suspended defenceman Slava Voynov would not be eligible to play for Russia despite being named to its final 23-man roster. He said this has been made clear to the Russian Federation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Thousands filled Centennial Square in June for the peace rally for Black lives, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
Survey seeks input on racism in Greater Victoria

Confidential answers to inform work with immigrants and marginalized people

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Most Read