Winter Olympics 2014: IIHF expects NHL players in Sochi

Alexander Hassenstein - Bongarts/Getty Images

The IIHF has stated that they expect NHL players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Despite the NHL currently being involved in an ongoing lockout, the International Ice Hockey Federation fully expects for NHL players to be in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Per the Canadian Press, IIHF President Rene Fasel says that the federation has prepared for the games with the NHL players in mind.

"We've prepared everything with the idea that NHL players will be there," said Fasel. "We've decided about the format and expect them to be there."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not committed to altering the NHL season to accommodate for the Olympics, which essentially shuts the league down for two weeks in the middle of the season. There are injury concerns and travel concerns for the players involved, and the league has stated in the past they are wary of allowing NHL players to participate in the future.

The 2010 Winter Olympics, held in Vancouver, appeared to be a major success in actually exposing hockey to a wider audience. The 2014 Olympics, however, will be held in Russia and most games will occur at times not ideal for a North American audience.

The IIHF, meanwhile, says the tournament will take place whether the NHL players participate or not.

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