Kukla's Korner Hockey
"I think it's fantastic for our sport. think it's great for our league that we go, and we're there. I think for all the players it's an honor to be part of the Olympics. I'm hopeful they can work it out. It's great for our league and great for the game."
-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning on the NHL players participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times has more on this topic.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
The NHL Players’ Association has formally rejected the league’s proposal to allow players to participate in the 2018 Olympics in exchange for an extension to the current collective bargaining agreement.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr says that the players, primarily the executive board, showed no interest in the idea.
He says he hopes “we’ll still be able to conclude an agreement to go to the Olympics.”
Fehr tells The Canadian Press in an exclusive interview that “we still think it’s (playing in 2018) important and we’ll go from there.”
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
So it turns out that regardless of what the final numbers are, the World Cup was not quite the cash cow that was originally predicted. A total profit of less than $40 million is significantly lower than was projected when the event was first conceived, perhaps as much as 50 percent lower. In fact, it doesn't look as though the 2016 World Cup will make much more money that it did when it was last played in 2004. Former NHL chief operating office John Collins said at the launch of the World Cup announcement at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus that the World Cup in 2004 made slightly less than $34 million. Does that mean there is room to grow for the World Cup or did both sides overestimate the revenues an event such as this one would produce? That’s probably the question that everyone on both sides are trying to figure out. From the league’s side, that total represents only a little more than $600,000 per team and that's only if the league distributes the money to the teams.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Maybe this will be the trigger that engages, educates and mobilizes the NHLPA membership.
Maybe Sixth Avenue’s latest reach into the players’ pockets with its attempt to coerce the union into extending the CBA by three years in exchange for authorization to compete in the 2018 Olympic Games will unify a Players Association that has been demoralized since enemies within undermined Bob Goodenow’s righteous fight against imposition of a hard cap through Owners’ Lockout II that claimed the 2004-05 season.
Out of nowhere — or perhaps, more accurately, out of Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors’ playbook — came the demand last week of linkage between the CBA and the Olympics. It was a classic hardball maneuver from the league that previously cast its reluctance (if not downright opposition) to commit to South Korea, over the IOC’s refusal to cover the cost of the players’ insurance and travel to the Games as it had done previously.
But when International Ice Hockey Federation chairman Rene Fassel on Wednesday informed Bettman that his organization would find the necessary $10 million to cover the cost, the league pulled its bait-and-switch. Suddenly, that wasn’t good enough.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I traded texts with a player on Thursday about the NHL's offer to extend the 2013 collective bargaining agreement by three years in exchange for Olympic participation, and he said what I think many players are thinking: Sure, he’d be interested in the offer if the league was also interested in capping escrow in some form.
The NHL, however, has zero interest in tweaking escrow -- a provision in the CBA meant to ensure that hockey-related revenue is split between the players and the franchise owners -- at this point, and perhaps never. It sees escrow as essential to making the 50-50 split work. But there’s no question that the NHL players' association is looking at its cousins in the NBA, where escrow is capped at 10 percent, and saying, "Why can’t we get that in the next CBA?'
What's the difference between the NHL and NBA? There's hard cap in the NHL, a soft cap in the NBA.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
As an alphabet soup of stakeholders meet in New York City to discuss the future of Olympic hockey, sources indicate the NHL has made an offer to its players that could confirm their participation.
No one is willing to comment at this time, so it is difficult to pin down particulars. But, in exchange for the league’s blessing, the NHLPA would agree to extend the collective bargaining agreement. One source indicated, it could be for three more years, but I can’t pin that down to be 100 per cent accurate.
This move is not unprecedented. Prior to the NHL’s first foray into the Olympics (Nagano, 1998) both sides agreed to waive the right to re-open their CBA to ensure there would be no labour disruption at that time.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
When it comes to revenue sharing and a transfer of funds from the wealthy to the needier, the NHL Players’ Association is more of a “listen to what we say” operation than “watch what we do” organization.
And maybe there is good reason for that under a triple-cap and escrow system in which players are routinely squeezed by the system to which the union acquiesced during the last two owners’ lockouts.
Still, the split of the PA’s take from the World Cup of Hockey seems unnecessarily, dramatically skewed to the approximately 180 participants in the tournament as opposed to the 520 or so players who did not compete in Toronto.
Numerous sources confirm the split, though not yet codified through a vote, will be in the 70-30 neighborhood, with the larger percentage going to those who played in the event. And with the union expected to reap a reward somewhat north of $20 million, that means those who played will receive just over $100,000 while the rest of the athletes will receive approximately $10,000.
continued plus more hockey topics...
from Yoo Jee-ho and Park Young-seo of the Yonhap News Agency,
Schneider told reporters Thursday "the biggest obstacle" is who will shoulder the expenses, such as transportation, insurance and accommodations, for some 150 NHL players if they do decide to compete here....
"I understand from the IOC's perspective that they don't want to pay players to come, but at the same time, players don't necessarily want to pay to come to the Olympics as well," Schneider said. "It's certainly not something that can't be overcome. We're optimistic that it will all work out in the end. Players love playing in the Olympics. That's why we've participated in the last five Olympics."...
Lynn White, group vice president of international strategy for the NHL, said PyeongChang organizers appear to be "well ahead of schedule with respect to the preparations for the Olympic Games." Schneider compared PyeongChang favorably to Sochi, the Russian host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"I think they're much further ahead at this point than Sochi, roughly a little over a year out (from the Olympics)," Schneider said. "I think we're very impressed with the progress and the facilities that we've seen. I think everyone is very dedicated to having a top-notch event. We'd expect nothing less coming here. I'd anticipate that early in the new year, we should have a decision."
National Hockey League (NHL) officials are visiting South Korea this week to inspect facilities for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics amid continuing uncertainty over the participation of the league's top players at the Winter Games.
Pyeongchang organizers (POCOG) released an itinerary on Tuesday detailing the visit of the group, which includes Lynn White, the NHL's Group Vice President of International Strategy, and Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig.
Sandra Monteiro and Matthieu Schneider of the NHL's Players' Association, as well as officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation, are also part of the group.
The officials will inspect the Kwandong Hockey Centre and the Gangneung Hockey Centre on Wednesday.
A decision on player participation is expected before the end of this year.
Discussions over player participation hit a roadblock last month after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the chances of the league shutting down to allow players to compete at the Olympics in the middle of the season were "dim".
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