Rene Fasel Thinks He Can Get NHL Players At The Beijing Games

For Gary Bettman, Yuans may be the answer.



The 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics is less than a month away and the hockey competition will go ahead without National Hockey League players. But the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel is working to get NHL players to participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Fasel wants to bypass NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the 31 owners and appeal directly to the National Hockey League Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr and try to convince Fehr to pressure the NHL to send players to China in 2022 during the next collective bargaining negotiations. The present CBA between NHL owners and players is done after the 2019-2020 season.

Fasel seems to believe what Bettman said during an interview in Sweden in November. “I never say never, but I find it hard to envision a scenario where it makes sense, unless, possibly, if the Winter Games are back in North America where the time frame and the attention and the logistics, travel, are a lot different.” But that seems to be a contradiction since the NHL has designed an initiative to increase hockey awareness in China which is a major sports market but has little interest in hockey. China is trying to get a team together that would be good enough to play in an Olympics tournament but it is hard to image a program starting from scratch to even make the Olympics cut. The NHL had two pre-season games in Beijing and Shanghai in September which was the start of the NHL’s China footprint.  Bettman and NHL owners said no to the 2018 South Korea games for a number of reasons which were rooted in money as the International Olympic Committee did not want to pay for NHL players travel and insurance costs. NHL owners did not want to suspend the season in February. Fasel thinks the NHL is wrong.

Neither Finland nor the US is sending its best hockey players to South Korea.