Due to epidemic prevention and control reasons, NHL players may not participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics in February next year. Although the news has not been officially announced, people familiar with the matter told the media on the 21st.
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The person who disclosed the news did not want to be named in an interview with The Associated Press because the official word has not been released. The NHL notified the Players Association (NHLPA) on Tuesday that it reserves the right to withdraw from the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Players Association has no plans to appeal the league’s decision.
Officials are expected to announce the relevant decision on the 22nd.
With as many as 50 games in the NHL’s regular season already postponed, there are fears that the season will be halted due to widespread infections among players and coaches, and the league will need to suspend the Winter Olympics for two weeks in February. It can be said that it is reasonable for the league to make this decision. After all, neither the NHL nor the players can profit from participating in the Winter Olympics.
According to a negotiated agreement between the league and the players’ association last year, players were allowed to participate in the Olympics on the condition that the Covid epidemic would not worsen, and the postponement of several regular season games forced the league to withdraw from the Beijing Olympics.
In fact, this is also the second consecutive time an NHL player will miss the Olympic men’s ice hockey game.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience, and you don’t get more out of being an athlete than going to the Olympics,” said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who helped in 2010 and 2014. Canada won the Olympic gold medal.
Unless the Beijing Olympics is postponed like the Tokyo Olympics, players like Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Victor Hedman of Sweden, etc. A generation of superstars will have to wait until 2026 to compete in the Olympics again.
“It’s something you’ve been waiting for a long time,” Holderman said. “For us, not being able to play in the Olympics will hurt us for a long time.”
Winnipeg Jets goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck could have been selected as the starter for Team USA. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the league’s decision, saying that delaying games was overkill.
The NHL didn’t allow players to compete in the Olympics until 1998, and has now competed five times in a row. The 2018 season didn’t stop with the Olympics, and that year’s national team consisted of a group of college athletes.