LONDON (AP) — The head of the Pyeongchang Olympics organizing committee said Thursday that the NHL isn't being "greedy" preventing hockey stars going to the 2018 Games and he was willing to be flexible to meet their demands.
Organizing committee president Lee Hee-beom told The Associated Press on Thursday that "we are ready to cooperate." Lee says he's doesn't know what the NHL's conditions are "but whatever they ask — if it is acceptable for us — we will do our best."
During an interview in London, Lee added that "so far I don't think they were so ... greedy and they didn't ask too many requests beyond our expectations."
The International Ice Hockey Federation has also been willing to discuss options, but acknowledged a "game-changer" offer was likely needed for NHL team owners to change their minds about halting the league schedule for three weeks. The best players in the world have played in every Olympics since 1998.
The IIHF had already agreed to meet players' travel and insurance costs when the International Olympic Committee ended its long-time commitment to pay. The NHL sought more concessions, but the IOC would not concede a share of marketing rights to a commercial league.