Russia forward Alexander Ovechkin plays with a puck during a training session at the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Rene Fasel is on a mission to keep hockey in the Olympics as compelling and competitive as possible, and it's going to be a tougher task for the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation in the next four years.

The NHL and the players' union have not committed to the next Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

"I'm going to work hard and do the best I can to get the NHL and NHL players in Pyeongchang," Fasel said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I will do everything I can _ seven days a week _ until a decision is made.

"But ultimately, that decision will be made by them."

By "them," of course, he means NHL owners and its players.

Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider doesn't like freezing the league for two weeks or so in the middle of the season _ when the NFL is idle and the NCAA tournament is a month away _ and risking injury to his players without a tangible return.

"It's ridiculous," Snider said last week. "There's no benefit to us whatsoever."

NHL players, however, might be universally in favor of having a chance every four years to play for their country, and to mingle with Olympians from around the world.

"To take that away would be unfortunate," U.S. captain Zach Parise said. "From my standpoint, I love playing here."

The NHL doesn't seem to mind as much when the Olympics are in North America _ as they were in 2010 and 2002 _ but it's less tolerant to do it when the games are overseas as they were in 1998, 2006 and this year.

And the next two Winter Games are not in the U.S. or Canada.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman arrives in Russia on Feb. 17, the day before the playoff portion of the 12-nation tournament begins. Fasel said he and Bettman will be staying at the same hotel.

Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, also will be part of the discussions about the future of the world's best hockey players participating in the Olympics.

"I don't think we have any meeting scheduled yet, but I am sure we will get together when we are all here," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote Tuesday in an email to the AP.

Fasel sounds ready to make his pitch.

"Most of the NHL players want to play in the Olympics and win a gold medal," Fasel said. "Everybody wants to win a Stanley Cup, but you can play for that every year. An Olympic gold medal is something special _ it's so different than all the other championships in hockey _ and you can only do it every four years."

___

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

share this story:
facebook
email

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus






Will we see changes after the Mariners eighth straight loss?

Lloyd McClendon and Jack Zdurincik were discussing options after the Mariners 5-2 loss to the Astros. Will we see changes?


Baldwin hoping for long-term deal with Seahawks

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin tells "Wyman, Mike and Moore" about his status as a restricted free agent and his desire to reach a long-term deal with Seattle.


Martins' goal lifts Seattle over Chivas 2-1

Obafemi Martins scored in the 81st minute to lift the Seattle Sounders to a 2-1 win over Chivas USA on Saturday night.




mynorthwest.com
Copyright © 2014 Bonneville International. All rights reserved.