NHL Will Reportedly Miss Olympic Games Due to COVID-19
20:04 GMT 21.12.2021 (Updated: 20:40 GMT 21.12.2021)
The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) have reportedly reached an agreement to not have players participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
In the NHL and the NHLPA's most recent collective bargaining agreement, the two sides negotiated the participation of NHL players in the 2022 and 2026 Winter games after NHL players were barred from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
However, an agreement was reached that if the NHL season was "materially impacted" by COVID-19 that the NHL had until January 10th, 2022 to opt out of Olympic participation without incurring a financial penalty.
The NHLPA had fought hard to regain Olympic participation for its members.
Kyle Conner of the Winnipeg Jets said, "We made it a big part of our collective bargaining agreement as the players, to bring the Olympics back."
The NHL has postponed 50 games as of December 21st and has decided to postpone all games and activities between December 22nd and 25th. Players will be allowed to return to team facilities on December 26th with games expected to resume on December 27th.
The league will use the scheduled Olympic break between February 6th and 22nd to reschedule the postponed games.
Pittsburg Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby voiced his sadness over the decision, "I've been fortunate enough to be part of two [Olympics]. I definitely feel for the guys who have missed numerous opportunities. It's not something where it's the next year or you push it a couple of months. These are experiences of a lifetime that you don't get very many of as an athlete."
Olympic hockey rosters will now be filled with players in professionals in other leagues and amateurs.
A formal announcement on opting out of the 2022 Olympic games is expected to be made in the next 24 hours.