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ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski is reporting that the NHL will not take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association came to the agreement Tuesday, with a formal announcement expected in the next 24 hours. It’s devastating news for players and fans alike, unfortunately expected due to the rise in COVID-19 cases around the league.
The two sides had negotiated a deal to allow NHL players to participate in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics. Participation in the 2022 Olympics, scheduled for February, hinged on the 2021-22 NHL season not being “materially impacted” by COVID-19, per Wyshynski.
The NHL has postponed 50 games this season due to outbreaks among teams and has paused the season through Christmas. With the announcement expected to come well before Jan. 10, the NHL will face no financial penalty for opting out.
Hockey figures to still be apart of the Olympics, with rosters filled by amateurs and professionals playing in leagues outside the NHL. Such was the case in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where NHL players did not participate.
Canada won Gold at the last two Olympics where the NHL participated, in 2010 and 2014. Captain of the 2014 squad was Penguins center Sidney Crosby. Crosby, 34, was likely facing a reality where 2022 would be his last opportunity to represent his country on the Olympic stage.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of two [Olympics],” Crosby said Tuesday. “I definitely feel for the 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.”
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