NHL players to participate in 2022 Beijing Olympics after agreement with IIHF, IOC

·Hockey writer
·2-min read
Ice Hockey - IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship 2021 - Final - Gold Medal Game - Finland v Canada - Arena Riga, Riga, Latvia - June 6, 2021 Canada players celebrate after winning the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship 2021 (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)
Ice Hockey - IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship 2021 - Final - Gold Medal Game - Finland v Canada - Arena Riga, Riga, Latvia - June 6, 2021 Canada players celebrate after winning the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship 2021 (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko)

It has been confirmed: We’re going to see the best hockey players on the planet face one another next year.

After a long battle between the IOC, the IIHF, the NHL, and the NHLPA, the league's players will be participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, representing their respective nations in the always highly anticipated tournament. 

The decision was made final by a league announcement on Friday. 

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“We understand how passionately NHL Players feel about representing and competing for their countries,” said Bill Daly, the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner. “We are very pleased that we were able to conclude arrangements that will allow them to resume best on best competition on the Olympic stage.“

This means that the proposed two-week break in the NHL schedule that spans from Feb. 7 to Feb. 22 has been officially confirmed.

According to Friday’s release, there is an opening for the league and player union to withdraw from the event, if it is deemed too dangerous due to any potential rise in COVID-19 cases in Beijing. There is no confirmation on whether or not individual players will make it public that they have withdrawn from the event due to concern, but that will most likely be made clear when the final rosters are announced next year.

With NHL players not being able to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, this will be the first time for many current stars of the league to get a taste of best-on-best hockey. Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Nikita Kucherov, Leon Draisaitl, Sebastian Aho and many more will get their first opportunity to compete for Olympic glory. This is especially significant in Kucherov’s case, since he has already lifted the Stanley Cup twice at the age of 28, but has not been able to participate in the Olympics with the Russian team.

The tournament schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

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