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Rumblings: NHL meets to discuss Olympic participation

The potential to grow the sport in Asia would be a big factor in sending NHL players to South Korea. Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Finally after a long wait, the NHL's first Olympic meeting has taken place.

It happened very quietly two weeks ago between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and IIHF, confirmed NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Tuesday.

The three sides talked about the dynamics of the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, and the potential opportunities in Beijing four years later, Daly said.

The meeting very much had a 30,000 feet from above feel, Daly was quick to add, meaning the conversations were very preliminary.

This type of meeting always takes place before all sides speak in-depth in future meetings. But the point is, it was a first step as the NHL and NHLPA decide what the future holds for Olympic participation, especially with the return of the World Cup of Hockey next September.

Certainly no surprise that Beijing 2022 was brought up in the discussion because at this point I don’t think you can separate the next two Winter Olympics in the big picture. Either the NHL and NHLPA will invest big in Asia for close to a decade, or they won't. But it’s not going to be one or the other. And the possibilities in the Chinese market are the real key potential.

I would expect Olympic participation to be on the agenda next month at the Board of Governors meeting in Pebble Beach, California, to gauge owners’ appetites.