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Board of governors meetings: Future of outdoor games, World Cup and Olympics

A recap of all the highlights from December's board of governors meeting:

    • There were six outdoor games last season, only two this year, and it sounds like it'll be somewhere in the middle of that for next season.

    "Everybody wants one," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The answer is in the next couple of months, we'll do it [announce for next season]. We won't do six, we'll probably do more than two. If I had to guess, and it's only a guess, it's probably three or four. It's a nice, manageable number."

    • The league gave owners an update on the ongoing World Cup of Hockey discussions with the NHL Players’ Association. The event is slated to return in September 2016, hosted by Toronto.

    "It remains a work in progress," Bettman said. "We’re focusing, together with the players’ association, on a point in time where we will have an announcement where we can get past the rumor stage and actually get specific with you as to what it will look like. We are not at that point yet, but the governors were given an update as to where we are."

    I believe the league hopes to announce World Cup plans, if there are any, at the All-Star Game in Columbus.

    • While the league updated owners on the World Cup of Hockey, they did not talk about the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

    "What we said in Sochi and what we said all through the rest of last season was we were coming back from the Olympics last year focused on the balance of our regular season and the playoffs," Bettman said. "We haven't really had any meaningful discussion with the board on whether or not Olympic participation is in our future.

    "I think from an IOC and IIHF standpoint, there are still open issues, in terms of accommodations and arrangements that were made in Sochi that nobody knows if they'll exist in Pyeongchang. It's not something we've given much attention to. We're focused more from an international standpoint on getting final arrangements in place so we can announce a World Cup. That's getting our attention right now."

    • A second team in Toronto is a long-term possibility. The league has said this before but for clarity’s sake, I asked deputy commissioner Bill Daly again Tuesday what power the Toronto Maple Leafs would have in blocking a second team from going to Toronto.

    "There’s no single veto right by any club in the league," he said. "In a Toronto relocation, it would be a majority vote [by the board of governors]."

    Daly was not suggesting or confirming that a second team in Toronto is a realistic possibility; he was simply answering my question about what exactly the Leafs could do if it ever happened.

    • According to several governors, Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating, gave an impressive presentation Tuesday.

    "I was excited that Stephen Walkom gave an overview of all the things we do procedurally to develop, train, teach, coach and hold our officials accountable," Bettman said. "He actually got an ovation when he was done. It doesn’t always happen when we are focusing on officiating."

    • It raised eyebrows, if not red flags, that Andrew Barroway’s proposed majority share purchase of the Arizona Coyotes wasn’t ready for agenda/voting purposes at this meeting.

    "A fair amount of the documentation underlying the transaction we only got the end of last week," Bettman said. "The documentation has to be reviewed, we have to finish our due diligence, there has to be an interview. It would be nice for a whole host of reasons to get it done by the end of the year.

    "But all of the parties are interested in moving it along as quickly as they can, as are we. But we have a process that we go through, and we have to check all the boxes. But based on the timing of the documents having been signed, there are a lot of boxes we couldn't get to yet. But we'll get to them shortly."

    •The owners also got an update from the league on where lawsuits against them from former players stand -- class-action suits similar to those the NFL has had to deal with.

    "There are eight lawsuits, they’ve consolidated in Minnesota," Bettman said. "We have motions pending, and we are going to aggressively defend the lawsuits because we don’t believe they have merit."