The NHL have announced that their players won’t be appearing at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Apparently the dispute revolves primarily around money; Mark Purdy of the Mercury News reported that the NHL wanted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to pay Olympic expenses and the IOC refused. If the dispute isn’t resolved, this will be the first time the NHL has skipped the event since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, when Sweden ended up taking the gold medal.
“The season was delayed for three months in 2012 before the two sides hammered out the current collective bargaining agreement. It may feel like hockey just went through this, but owners could opt as soon as Sept. 1, 2019…
The league offered an agreement to go to Pyeongchang next year in exchange for extending the CBA until 2025… [but] not wanting to rush into a three-year CBA extension without considering the big picture led the NHL Players’ Association to reject the league’s Olympic offer”
This Wednesday, during a radio appearance on 590 AM The Fan, the NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr told the league to expect payback during negotiations:
“If the notion is that players will just say, ‘oh well, the CBA didn’t provide for it’ or ‘we wish it were different’ – and we could just go on with life as usual or as if this hadn’t happened, I think that’s a very, very, very unlikely possibility”
“The length of contracts and long-term injured reserve are expected to be discussed, and players also are unhappy that 15.5 per cent of their pay is withheld in escrow to ensure a 50/50 split of hockey revenue with owners; some have privately grumbled about not getting paid what their contracts say. Players’ agent Todd Diamond believes the league has a “revenue problem” because NHL business is growing at a slower pace compared with other major sports.”