The NHL knows the arguments for being a part of the Olympics: endorsing the League, increasing the sport, giving players and fans an incredible experience. It knows why its players want to go to the 2018 Olympics. They are similar reasons the NHL went to the 1998 Olympics for the first time. Ironically, Gary Bettman was Commissioner then as well.
The NHL has been to the Olympics five times and has never seen any real evidence of a real impact on the business or sport. To tell the truth, it has seen a negative impact.
Negative attitude built among the Board of Governors over the years. The NHL wasn’t going to the 2014 Olympics but went anyway. Negative sentiment had reached the tipping point.
The NHL knew the players wanted to go to PyeongChang. The League held a meeting to the International Ice Hockey Federation, the NHL Players’ Association, and the International Olympic Committee. But no one gave anything to sway the Board that going to PyeongChang would be in the best interest of the League and with the Stanley Cup Playoffs coming up, it’s was time to move on.
“A number of months have gone by and no pertinent dialogue has materialized,” the NHL said in a statement. “Instead, the IOC has now communicated that the NHL’s participation in 2022 is conditioned on its participation in 2018. The NHLPA has verified that it has no interest in having a discussion that might make the Olympics more appealing.
To create clarity among conflicting reports and speculation, this will confirm our plan to proceed with finalizing our 2017-18 regular season schedule without any breaks for the 2018 Olympics. This matter is now officially closed.”