There is a chance, although a slim one, that men’s hockey will not be a part of the 2022 Olympics.

That revelation came on Friday when Rene Fasel, the head of the IIHF, was featured in a panel discussion at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton.

Fasel has been preparing for the best and worst options, as well as everything in between, getting ready for the next Winter Olympic games.

Reports indicate that the IIHF president told the IOC that there were four options for men’s hockey on the table for the Olympics in Beijing.

The first option includes NHL player participation like the men’s tournament had from 1998 to 2014.

The second option would be like the 2018 tournament where only amateur and professional players without contractual NHL affiliations are eligible to participate.

The third option would see only under-23 players participate. That would presumably only include players who are without an NHL contract.

The final option is that there will not be a men’s hockey tournament.

Currently, the first option seems like a long shot. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners still are unwilling to shut down the season for an event being held overseas and is keen on the idea of moving hockey to the Summer Games.

While hearing Bettman saying that he wants it moved to the summer seems odd there is some president. The first participation of hockey at the Olympics in 1920 in Antwerp was actually a Summer Olympics. However, what is odd is that the NHL wants to grow the game of hockey in China and by having the biggest names in the sport playing at these Olympic Games would actually help out rather than just having a couple of NHL games there.

The commish believes that shutting down for a few weeks would be very disruptive to the season and the schedule. Yes, you would have to compact the season into a shorter time frame, or maybe you start a little earlier than normal every four seasons to participate. It’s not like the Olympics just springs up out of nowhere.

As for no men’s hockey at the Olympics, that is more than likely the one option that will be thrown away all together because it is the only sport that is on every day at the Olympics and brings in a lot more money through ticket sales than any other sport at the games. So, the Olympics needs hockey more than hockey needs the Olympics.

I personally go back and forth about if I want the pros participating at the Olympics since it was designed to promote amateur athletes as they represented their country. But, you also want the highest competition at the games, so you want the very best athletes which would include the professionals.

It is more likely that if men’s hockey stays in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics that it will be option two or three that they go with, and I am okay with that.

What I would not be okay with is if men’s hockey is removed from the games all together. Thankfully, there is still enough time to line up all the ducks and snipe some ginos in getting the planning done for the games.