Auston Matthews is heading to the Beijing Olympics.
The Toronto Maple Leafs star centre was one of three players named to the 2022 American Olympic men’s ice hockey roster on Thursday.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 7, 2021
The Olympics are slated to kick off on February 4. It is likely that more Leafs players will be heading there as well.
The IIHF and NHL have requested lists of three provisional players from each competing country to be named for the Olympics.
A pair of Chicago Blackhawks were added to the Olympics roster alongside Matthews: forward Patrick Kane and defenceman Seth Jones.
For Canada, the three players selected were Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, and Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Alex Pietrangelo.
NHL players missed out on the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympics in South Korea after the NHL and IIHF were unable to come to an agreement mostly related to insurance costs.
The NHL and NHLPA have stated their full intention to play in China next winter. However, the league can still pull out if they deem the COVID-19 situation within the country unsafe (or if other external factors may jeopardize the NHL season).
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is in charge of naming the Americans’ roster.
Matthews led the NHL in goals last season with 41, picking up his first career Art Ross Trophy in the process.