Posted by Rob on 08 February 2000 at 04:13 GMT
Posted from 184.108.40.206 (fctnts10c18.nbnet.nb.ca)
I can't believe that Fasel would actually stop NHL players from participating in the Olympics because of this dispute. Anyway here is the article:
U.S. ownership of elite European clubs
seen as threat to hockey peace
Toronto -- The National Hockey League's participation in the Olympics is in jeopardy because the International Ice Hockey Federation is angry about Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz's investment in European hockey.
Anschutz now owns three elite European club teams, with an interest in a fourth. IIHF president Rene Fasel said yesterday that he and others in the federation are worried that elite European hockey teams might simply become a farm system for the NHL.
Until the matter can be worked out with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Fasel said, the IIHF will not grant its approval for the NHL's participation in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Any future World Cup of Hockey tournaments could also be affected, Fasel said.
"Some people are not happy," Fasel said. "Some people do not like the way [Anschutz] came over here. If NHL people think we are not using our hockey market over here properly they're wrong.
"Europe is our market, we'll fight anyone who comes over here and tries to steal our market. There is some concern about our players, that the NHL is taking over our players and we don't want to be farm clubs for the NHL."
In the past few years, Anschutz has bought the London Knights of the Sekonda Superleague in Britain, Sparta Prague of the Czech league and the Munich Barons of the German elite league. He also has an interest in Jokerit of the Finnish elite league. Anschutz could not be reached for comment.
Bettman said Saturday that the NHL and the NHL Players Association are now "on the same page" on all major Olympic issues and the board of governors had given him authority to complete the remaining issues.
"We might not go to the Olympics," Bettman said, "but if it can all be worked out, I have the authority to take the league through the Olympic process. That doesn't mean we are there yet."
Bettman said there is no timetable for settling the issues. "That is really in the hands of the [IIHF] and I continue to dialogue with Rene Fasel on the issue."
Fasel plans to meet Bettman later this month. He will also meet NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow and hockey federations from other countries.
He said he has not spoken to Anschutz, and that Bettman told him neither he nor the NHL has any control over what teams the Kings owner buys in Europe.
Fasel also said the IIHF wants to know the NHL's plans for Europe. He indicated the IIHF is not keen on direct NHL expansion into European cities.
"I would like to hear this from [Bettman]," Fasel said. "Gary said it was never [the NHL's] idea to come over here.
"We lost 56 players last year who signed with the NHL. But we are definitely not farm teams for the NHL. We have very good hockey in Europe, as good as the NHL."
The controversy might also hold up releases for players from European teams to play in the NHL.
"We say why should we give [the NHL] all the advantages, and then they come in the back door [to seize control]," Fasel said.
Fasel said he wants to see the NHL participate in the Olympics, although he didn't want to predict the probability of that.
"I don't know, this decision is for our whole congress," Fasel said. "To have the best players in Salt Lake City is my goal and I'll work toward that.
"But we have to speak about the future. We have to make sure what happens after 2002 between us and the NHL."