According to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, the NHL is set to release their 2021-22 regular season schedule on Thursday after the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft and right before the NHL Entry Draft.
The NHL's 2021-22 regular-season schedule will have a Winter Olympics break built into it when that schedule is released this week, according to sources. My story: https://t.co/kci5FIuwuu
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) July 19, 2021
Not only is the schedule release exciting, but the report from Wyshynski adds that the league has a scheduled break for the 2022 Winter Olympics set for February 5-22. But it is not set in stone yet that the NHL will be participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. The NHL and the IOC are still working on an agreement to have NHL players participate in the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament, set to begin on February 9th.
The 2022 NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas is set to be the last on-ice event for the league prior to the proposed Olympic break, but it is uncertain if the All-Star break will be part of the Olympic break period, according to the report.
NHL players last participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics, won by Team Canada. In 2018, the league did not permit anyone playing on an NHL contract to play in the Olympics held in Pyeongchang where Team Russia (or known as the Olympic Athletes from Russia) defeated Germany in the Gold Medal game. Russia’s roster was full of future and former NHLers and Russian professional players including Nikita Gusev, Kirill Kaprizov, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Mikhail Grigorenko, to name a few.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL has legitimate concerns for sending players to the Olympic Games. The Summer Games happening in Tokyo later this week will serve as a litmus test for the Beijing Winter Games and how they handle the virus. We’ll see how things progress between the league and the IOC, but with the NHL schedule release at least acknowledging an Olympic break, the chance for NHL players to participate is still a possibility.