February 18 - René Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), has claimed to relish the quad-annual challenge of securing the presence of the world's best players at the Olympic Games.
Speaking here alongside National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman, Fasel said this is his eighth Olympic Games and fifth with NHL players involved, and that he is hopeful of securing their presence again at Pyeongchang 2018.
"I love to bargain with these people, it's fun to do that after every Olympics," he said.
"It would be boring if we decide something for the next 10 years or 20 years - it's so nice to be with Gary and fight and have some discussions."
But, despite these words, no decision has yet been made and the negotiations ahead look set to be as long and rocky as the ones for Sochi 2014 were beofre agreements being reached in July last year.
Bettmann insisted repeatedly that, as of yet, "nothing has been discussed and nothing will be discussed while we are here in Sochi."
He added: "All of us are here to enjoy this competition, and while I have seen lots of commentary over the last couple of weeks, both written and oral, the fact of the matter is, there isn't anything that has been said in the last two weeks that hasn't been said for the last eight years."
However he did add admit afterwards that he "doesn't see why" a decision could not be made within the next six months - with financial and logistical hurdles related to distance and time differences North America and South Korea among the items to be discussed.
Bettman also quelled at suggestions that the NHL-IIHF relationship was unbalanced in the NHL's favour and that, except for expenses, the NHL receives no financial profit from Olympic participation.
"We've never leveraged the situation and, as anybody knows, the most financially we ever get is a reimbursement that's probably not a complete reimbursement of the additional expenses that we have by virtue of the participation of the NHL players," he said.
Among the several other issues to be discussed was the status of women's hockey after the United States and Canada once again swept aside the opposition to reach the final.
Fasel insisted the game is becoming more competitive and schemes are underway to make it more so before responding "I can guarantee that will never happen" to the question of whether women's ice hockey could ever be removed from the Olympics programme.
But this was just a brief interlude to the primary debate on NHL negotiations as, beneath the harmonious façade, occasional ripples of tension between the speakers came to the fore.
This was notable when Fasel's claim "there is nothing like an Olympic gold medal, in the life of an athlete" was interrupted by Bettman's interjection of "except, perhaps, winning the Stanley Cup."
To this Fasel responded that "every year there is a Stanley Cup, every year a world champion but an Olympic gold medal is only every four years."
"Look at the faces of the players next Sunday when they get their gold medal," he added.
"They will be so different."
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January 2013: Exclusive - Fasel confident NHL players will compete at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics