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NHL-IIHF WRAP UP TALKS ON FUTURE INTERNATIONAL PLAY
Published February 2, 1995
The NHL and the Int'l Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) concluded two days of meetings Wednesday in Naples, FL. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and IIHF President Rene Fasel announced a reaffirmation of the commitment to have NHL players participate in the '98 Winter Olympics and plans for other international competitions, including a possible World Cup tournament in '97 as a prelude to Nagano. In addition, Bettman and Fasel said that they were proceeding on plans to develop a "Pan-European Super League" to begin play no later than September '96 (NHL). Fasel, on '98: "We mapped out a strategy and it's time to do some more homework." Part of that "homework" includes attracting NHL players. "Who controls international hockey is a major unresolved collective bargaining issue" between the NHL and NHLPA. Int'l hockey is a major revenue source for the players' pension fund, and both sides realize how much money would be generated through marketing and licensing if the NHL's stars played in the '98 Games. While Fasel apologized to NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow for not including the players in earlier talks, he made it clear that it is Bettman's job to negotiate with the NHLPA. Fasel: "I will talk to my different federations and Gary has to deal with the players" (CANADIAN PRESS/VANCOUVER SUN, 2/2). PENSION BATTLE: Paul Saunders, Senior VP of Buck Consultants and an adviser to retired NHL players, testified that former players are owed $42,160,251 by the league as of February 1, 1995. The league's estimate is less, due to different accounting methods. The Ontario Court of Justice will decide between the two amounts sometime in March. The former players won control of the money when an Ontario court ruled the NHL Pension Society misappropriated surpluses in '82 and '85 (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/2).