René Fasel expressed his hope that NHL players will participate at Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has admitted the absence of National Hockey League (NHL) players has affected competition here.

Fasel, speaking on the eve of the men's final between Germany and the Olympic Athletes from Russia, defended the tournament and claimed it had been a success even though it has been missing the world's best male players.

"Not having the NHL is still a disappointment but actually with the result yesterday," he said.

"Germany going to the final [by beating Canada in the semi-final], and the interest, I would say that in Germany nobody cares that the NHL is here or not.

"But what can we do? 

"We have to do the best that we can do and promote the game of hockey and yesterday the German-Canada game was something very unique and special.

"You don’t need caviar every day.

"I mean you can also live with leberkase and weisswurst, and yesterday was a day like this."

The Olympic Athletes from Russia team has dominated in the absence of NHL players ©Getty Images
The Olympic Athletes from Russia team has dominated in the absence of NHL players ©Getty Images

Players from the NHL did not participate here for the first time at a Winter Olympics since their first appearance at Nagano 1998.

It followed the failure to reach an agreement between the IIHF, NHL, International Olympic Committee and NHL Players Association.

Fasel does not expect these negotiations to recommence for Beijing 2022 until after the completion of the next contract talks for NHL players in 2019 or 2020. 

The Swiss answered "maybe" when asked if the absence of NHL players was the reason why attendances have been lower for these Olympics

It was pointed-out that crowds, which have averaged less than 5,000 in most cases for the men's tournament, have been highest for games involving the South Korean hosts.

"This is a non-[ice] hockey country and I think the price [of tickets] was relatively expensive," Fasel added.

"In Sochi [in 2014], we had a plan to fill the empty seats. 

"They didn’t have this concept here."