NHL players won’t be going to the Winter Olympics this February.
The NHL and NHLPA have come to an agreement not to go to Beijing as planned, according to a report from ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. The decision was made due to rising cases of COVID-19, as the highly-infectious Omicron variant spreads throughout North America.
There have been a total of 139 NHL players that have entered COVID-19 protocol in just the last 10 days. The league has been forced to postponed 50 games so far because of those outbreaks.
Nine of 10 games on tonight’s schedule have been postponed, as have every game previously scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
NHL players participated in every Winter Olympics from 1998 to 2014, but the league skipped the 2018 tournament. Participation in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics was negotiated into the NHL’s most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The NHL had until January 10 to pull out of this year’s tournament without penalty. The league will use the planned Olympic break to reschedule postponed games.
The NHL All-Star Game, which was supposed to precede the Olympic tournament, is still scheduled for February 5 in Las Vegas.
The Olympic tournament, assuming the Beijing Games aren’t postponed as well, will now include professional players playing in other leagues around the world, which was also the case in 2018.
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