Robin Lehner Opts-Out of Olympic Participation, Citing Personal Health Reasons

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Robin Lehner Opts-Out of Olympic Participation, Citing Personal Health Reasons

Chicago Blackhawks

Following a 3-2 win for the Vegas Golden Knights over the Calgary Flames, in which Robin Lehner made 23 saves on 25 shots, the former Blackhawks goaltender took to Twitter to announce that he would be opting out of participating in the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Lehner, who has been very public and open about his mental health journey through his career, was likely to be one of the three goaltenders chosen to be a part of Team Sweden’s roster. This season, Lehner has a 10-9-0 record with a .910 save percentage and a 3.02 GAA.

Lehner becomes the first high-profile player to decide to opt-out of going to the Olympics but will probably not be the last. He was critical of some aspects of the league’s playoff bubble in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also critical of the league’s restrictions on vaccinated players last season. The COVID restrictions that are likely to be in place for the Beijing Olympics, Lehner says in his tweet, would not be ideal for his mental well-being.

The NHL still has it on the table to send its players to the Winter Olympics for the first time since the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. But with the increased concerns over COVID within the league, leading the NHL to cancel all team holiday parties and public events, and with the newly discovered Omicron variant of the virus spreading, there is a growing sense that the league will eventually pull players from participating by the January 10 deadline.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.