NHL, NHLPA ex­pect World Cup to re­turn in 2020

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Larry Lage

TORONTO >> The World Cup of Hockey will re­turn, with­out a doubt, and avoid an­other 12-year break.

NHL Deputy Com­mis­sioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Don Fehr both con­firmed for The As­so­ci­ated Press on Fri­day that they ex­pect the next World Cup of Hockey to be in 2020.

It is much less cer­tain whether the best play­ers will go to South Korea to par­tic­i­pate in the 2018 Olympics.

In­ter­na­tional Ice Hockey Fed­er­a­tion Pres­i­dent Rene Fasel told the AP on Tues­day the odds of NHL play­ers go­ing to the Pyeongchang Games were 50-50, a slight up­grade from his fore­cast in May.

Later the same day, Daly said he felt more “neg­a­tive,” about the chances the league’s play­ers will be in a sixth straight Olympics due to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion to not pay for NHL play­ers’ travel and in­sur­ance as it has in the past.

Fehr, who rep­re­sents play­ers who have made it clear they want to be in the Olympics, said he’s more op­ti­mistic than pes­simistic a deal will get done.

The union head in­sisted he isn’t con­cerned about the IOC’s stance.

“Ev­ery­body un­der­stands that no­body’s go­ing to risk their ca­reer and fu­ture earn­ings and all the rest of it in re­turn for no com­pen­sa­tion and no cov­er­age,” Fehr told the AP. “No one will do that. They un­der­stand that. That’s been a given for a long, long time. If it plays out that way, which I do not ex­pect it to play out that way, we’ll deal with it.”

The IOC isn’t buy­ing the ban­ter.

“I think both sides are play­ing poker,” pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Ski fed­er­a­tion Gian Franco Kasper, who rep­re­sents win­ter sports on the IOC ex­ec­u­tive board, said Fri­day in an in­ter­view with the AP.

The IOC does not want to con­tinue its past prac­tice of pay­ing for NHL play­ers’ travel and in­sur­ance be­cause it doesn’t want to have to do the same for athletes in other sports.

Fasel said it is his job to raise the money needed, which he es­ti­mates to be about $10 mil­lion. Fasel said he plans to “beg,” for the funds from na­tional Olympic com­mit­tees and hockey fed­er­a­tions. He ac­knowl­edged us­ing some of the $40 mil­lion the IOC gives the IIHF to fund its pro­grams, in­clud­ing devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for boys and girls, could be used to bring the best hockey play­ers to South Korea.

Daly said the NHL would like a fi­nal de­ci­sion to be made by the end of the year so that it can set the 2017-18 sched­ule with or with­out a break mid­way through the slate for the Olympics.

The World Cup of Hockey, which the NHL and NHLPA teamed up to bring back for the first time since 2004, does not con­flict with the league’s sched­ule be­cause the games were played dur­ing train­ing camp and early pre­sea­son games.

Play­ing hockey in late Septem­ber, how­ever, is not an ideal time to draw TV view­ers in the U.S. in part be­cause of in­ter­est in the NFL, col­lege football and base­ball.

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