International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says it will "not be easy" to reach a deal for NHL players to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Fasel tells The Associated Press that the IIHF has started the process of consulting players and officials over a deal for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Fasel says "our goal is to bring the NHL to Korea," but he adds that it is a "long process" and "will not be easy."
The IIHF must reach a deal with NHL officials, the NHL Players' Association and the International Olympic Committee. Insurance for player injuries is a perennial sticking point.
For the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, a deal was reached seven months before the games.