The NHL and the players’ union have met regarding the continued participation of NHL players in the Olympics, as the 2018 PyeongChang Games near. If the league agreed to continue, the NHLPA would extend the current collective bargaining agreement, which was last agreed upon in January 2013 after the first 3 months of the season were cancelled due to lockout. The current CBA expires on September 15, 2022, with potential opt outs for both sides due by September 2019.
NHLPA executives were already in talks with the players about continuing the agreement ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with the IIHF. Even after this latest offer, IIHF president Rene Fasel said he is no more optimistic than he was coming in to the meetings.
A similar event happened prior to the 1998 Nagano Games, the first time the NHL sent its players to the Olympics. The league and its’ players’ union agreed to extend their CBA at that time to keep both sides happy, as a league stoppage at that time would have been detrimental, with four new teams (Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota, and Nashville) joining by the start of the 2000 season.
Commissioner Gary Bettman (queue the “boos”) has reportedly inquired about his players skipping the 2018 Games, and then rejoining the 2022 Games in Beijing. He is concerned that the IOC has refused to pay for the travel and insurance for the athletes, and that the league’s owners do not want to shit down the league for the almost three-week long tournament overseas.