Panellists evaluate the 2010 Vancouver Olympics at world hockey summit
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, August 25, 2010 1:25PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:31AM EDT
TORONTO - Panellists at the world hockey summit agreed that the Vancouver Olympics produced some magical moments.
Whether that can be duplicated in the men's hockey tournament at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia is very much up in the air. The issue of NHL player participation at future Olympic Games was a hot topic during the summit's early session Wednesday at a downtown Toronto hotel.
International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said the lines of communication with the NHL are open.
"It's not a control thing, it's just a partnership in working together," Fasel said. "I'm ready to do so. This is not a problem. It's not a question of power."
There are a number of issues when it comes to the subject of NHL player participation in Sochi. The league would need to shut down for a few weeks, injuries are always a concern and players would be more fatigued than usual due to travel issues.
There's also the question of finances. While the game is showcased on the biggest stage possible, the NHL doesn't directly reap the financial rewards even though many of its players are on the ice.
The Olympics will be a key topic when the union and league start talks on a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires at the end of the 2011-2012 season.
"Personally I don't think it's a thing that should be bargained in the CBA," said Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "I think it's bigger than that."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was expected to provide his perspective later Wednesday during a question-and-answer session.
Panellists also discussed officiating and accessibility at the Olympics, rink size comparison and schedule issues. Other panellists included Vancouver Games chief organizer John Furlong, International Olympic Committee director Timo Lumme and Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
Later Wednesday, the sport's long-term global event agenda will be discussed. Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, Kontinental Hockey League president Alexander Medvedev and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly will be some of the panellists.
The four-day summit wraps up Thursday.