What we have assumed for a few weeks is now coming to fruition. And it’s not fun. According to multiple reports, the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to pull its players from participating in the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The news is expected to become official this week, potentially as early as today.
No surprise, but #NHL + #NHLPA are in agreement that NHL players will not participate in #Beijing2022 Olympics. Once they notify IOC, an official announcement will come – perhaps as soon as today, maybe later this week.
Now, question is: Will 2022 Olympics be postponed to 2023? https://t.co/8aR0aKmqNl
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 21, 2021
The NHL has seen a massive spike in COVID cases around the league. Over 100 players, coaches, and team staff members have been placed in COVID protocols in the past week. Nearly one-third of NHL teams had been shut down by the league through the Christmas holiday break, postponing nearly 50 scheduled games. It prompted the league to initiate a pause of all NHL activities for all 32 teams through the Christmas holiday break, with the hopes of resuming the schedule on December 27 as normal. Or, as normal as possible.
Sources confirm the February break in the #NHL schedule, originally for the Olympics, will now be used to play make up games for all games taken off the board.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) December 21, 2021
NHL players were the ones who pushed hard to get the league to agree to send them back to the Olympics in 2022 after missing the tournament for the 2018 Winter Olympics. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as the league dealt with the rising COVID cases over the past month, continued to say that the decision to go to the Olympics or not rested with the players themselves.
The major reason the players likely do not want to go to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, is not for fear of getting COVID, but rather what testing positive would mean for them in China. According to the Olympics COVID protocols, if an athlete tests positive for COVID while in China, they could be subjected to a five-week quarantine period. That would mean if, for example, a player were to test positive at the end of the Olympics (February 18, 19, 20) they could then be stuck in China until the third week of March. It would mean missing five weeks of pay for that NHL players and being away from the team and their families for that long as well.
I, for one, would hate that.
As of now, the NHL plans to have the All-Star weekend festivities in Las Vegas go-on as normal. But with everything happening right now, the popular term is that things are “fluid” with the league and their schedule.