Meetings between the NHL, the International Ice Hockey Federation and Olympic organizers have wrapped up in Sochi, Russia.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and a group of NHL personnel visited the site of the 2014 Games to discuss possible participation.
While the sides are going to need further meetings before an agreement can be reached, Daly said things went well.
"We had two productive days of meetings in Sochi," Daly said. "Saw and visited all the hockey venues, the Olympic Village and other key Olympics-related infrastructure. We met with the Sochi Organizing Committee, the IIHF and a number of IOC representatives. There is more work to be done, but it was an important trip for us to make."
IIHF president Rene Fasel felt that while many challenges lie ahead, he was optimistic with the week's visit.
"This was a very good couple days of site visits of the Olympic venues and infrastructure, followed by some good discussions with the NHL representatives," Fasel said. "I remain optimistic about the NHL's participation in Sochi and I hope that we can come to an agreement latest beginning of May, which would be good for the teams as to which players to select for the World Championships.
"It must be said that many challenges remain and that this is more than just an IIHF-NHL issue," Fasel continued. "We have also the IOC, the NHLPA, the Sochi organizers, the National Olympic Committees and the national ice hockey associations. There is lots of coordinating to be done."
The NHL still needs to make a final decision on whether it will send its players to Sochi and any agreement for Olympic participation would need the NHLPA's approval.
NHL players have taken part in the Winter Olympics since Nagano in 1998, but with the 2014 Games less than a year away, an agreement still has to be reached on their participation at Sochi.
The 2014 Winter Olympics run from Feb. 7-23.