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IIHF president lukewarm on NHL players in Europe

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIH

International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President Rene Fasel attends the wrap-up press conference of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in Helsinki, on May 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ LEHTIKUVA / Markku Ulander *** FINLAND OUT *** (Photo credit should read MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/GettyImages)

AFP/Getty Images

With the lockout in full swing and NHL players heading off to Europe in droves to just play some hockey, the perspective from those across the ocean is a bit different.

IIHF President Rene Fasel is both happy to see European leagues benefit from having the biggest stars coming over, but realizes it’s tough for many who call those leagues home full time as Graham Dunbar of AP finds out.

“The integrity of the game is, for us, something very important. It’s not just business,” the world hockey leader said. “We play the game for the hockey fans, but sport should always be No. 1. Sport should also be about fairness to everybody.”

While Fasel toes the line well there, he goes on to say, “Our door is wide open,” regarding NHL players and that they’re going to play games whether they come or not. Taking advantage of the NHL’s problems just means better business for those in Europe one way or another.