December 22, 2021 11:47am
What has been suspected for several days has now been confirmed.
National Hockey League players won’t be taking part in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The NHL announced on Wednesday that, because the spread of COVID-19 has led to several game postponements in recent days, it is no longer feasible for the league to take a break to allow players to represent their countries at the Beijing games.
“The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL Players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament. Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our Players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released Wednesday. “Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events — 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 — Olympic participation is no longer feasible. We certainly acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Beijing Organizing Committee to host NHL Players but current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone’s best efforts.”
Instead of the league taking a scheduled break between February 6 and 22 to allow for Olympic participation, it will use that time period to hold games that have been, or may yet be, postponed.
Bettman added he and the league look forward to having NHL players take part in the winter Olympics in 2026.
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