A final decision on whether National Hockey League (NHL) players will take part at next year's Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang must be made by mid-July at the absolute latest, the head of the world governing body has claimed.
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel insisted that any later would make it logistically impossible to find hotels and accommodation for the NHL delegation.
The world's leading league last month issued a statement claiming their players would not travel to South Korea for Pyeongchang 2018.
Fasel, however, revealed that he is still negotiating with both the NHL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in an attempt to broker a deal.
"The problem is that the NHL always takes a large number of guests" Fasel told German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger when asked about the time-frame for a decision to be made.
"In Vancouver we had between 600 and 800 and in Sochi over 400.
"In South Korea, it would be similar.
"Gangneung does not have extra hotel rooms.
"We can only release these capacities by the end of June, at the latest mid-July."
IOC President Thomas Bach's refusal to continue covering travel and insurance costs of NHL players has been blamed for the failure to reach a deal.
The IOC had paid these costs since NHL players first appeared at Nagano 1998.
Fasel was asked if he believes this was a form of revenge for him not supporting the German's successful campaign to be elected to the IOC position in 2013.
"To this I prefer not to comment," he said.
Fasel warned, though, that the IOC will have to change their approach to covering "technical costs" in the future.
"The IOC is at a crossroads," he said.
"It has to decide where it wants to go.
"If it wants stars and professionals, it must take over the [technical] costs for it."
Fasel criticised NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for making "unrealistic" demands.
"He [Bettman] claims the same rights for the NHL as a TOP (The Olympic Programme) sponsor who pays $100 million (£77 million/€91 million)," Fasel told Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger .
"He wants to use the Olympic Rings for the NHL.
"If the IOC says yes, what do we do with athletics, swimming, gymnastics, skiing, ice skating?
"Then we would have to grant these rights to all the big sports federations.
"It is also about the principle."
Fasel, currently attending the IIHF World Championships co-hosted by France and Germany, claimed he will not "sell his soul" for the sake of ensuring NHL participation.
"I am ready to swim across the Atlantic if it needs to be," he said.
"But there is a limit I can not cross.
"And if the NHL decides not to come, then so be it."
Russia and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is among the top players who have threatened to defy the NHL and take part at Pyeongchang 2018.
"If Ovechkin wants to play at the Olympics and is registered by his National Olympic Committee, he has the right to be in Pyeongchang," Fasel told Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
"No problem - he must simply have a passport and be reported.
"There are a few legal hurdles, but we are clarifying this.
"Certain parameters must be fulfilled, such as anti-doping."