Nov 11, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT
If it were up to Gary Bettman — and we suppose it is, partly — the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia would be the last time in the foreseeable future that NHL players would participate in the Olympics.
Instead, the NHL commissioner would prefer the world’s top players compete for international supremacy at a league-sanctioned World Cup.
Bettman was speaking today at a sports marketing conference in Toronto.
Following are tweets from reporters covering the event:
Asked if his preference would be an NHL-controlled World Cup, Bettman said: "Yeah."—
Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) November 11, 2013
Bettman says he is "very much a believer in the World Cup."—
Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) November 11, 2013
Bettman calls travelling 2Sochi&playing in the Olympics:"imperfect at best…but we have to go"He calls it a goodwill gesture to the players—
Matthew Scianitti (@TSNScianitti) November 11, 2013
Bettman’s comments were not a huge surprise. The conventional wisdom says the Sochi Olympics will indeed be the last time that the NHL sends players to participate, at least for quite some time.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a country that won’t have the draw for the league’s players that Sochi did for outspoken Russian stars like Alex Ovechkin.
Wrote NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to PHT: “It’s our joint intention (NHL and NHLPA) to assess the experience in Sochi before even considering whether to continue with Olympic participation going forward.”
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