The National Hockey League is withdrawing from the Winter Olympics after a series of coronavirus outbreaks disrupted the regular season schedule in this ice hockey league, a person familiar with the decision said Tuesday.
This person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, because the NHL has not formalized a ban on its players from attending Beijing 2022.
The source said that the association informed the players’ union, on Tuesday, that it reserves the right to withdraw participation in the Olympics in light of the great turmoil that occurred in the season. He added that the union would not appeal against this decision.
An announcement is expected for this Wednesday.
With 50 games postponed, it was already feared that the NHL could not complete its 82-game season if it also suspended activity for more than two weeks in February to allow players to participate in the Olympics.
The league will put its profits at risk. The Olympic Games do not directly generate funds for the participating athletes.
Last year, the NHL and the union agreed to Olympic participation as part of an extended collective bargaining agreement. But whether to allow play in Beijing depends on the conditions of the epidemic not getting worse.
A major glitch in the schedule allowed the league to change its position. The spread of Delta and Omicron variants in the US and Canada has not only caused matches to be postponed but also exacerbated doubts among some players about whether they will travel to China.
As a result, this will be the second Olympic Games in a row without the participation of NHL players.
“There are opportunities and experiences in life that you don’t get often as an athlete or can only be received once,” said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who won gold with Canada in 2010 and 2014. Something happened in front of your window and it didn’t work. It’s a pity. “
Unless the Beijing Games are postponed by a year as was the case with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a generation of superstars including American Austin Matthews, Canadians Conor McDavid and Nathan McKinnon, Germany’s Leon Drysalty and Sweden’s Victor Hedman will have to wait until 2026 to make their debut in This kind of fencing.
Russia, who won the gold medal in Pyeongchang 2018, immediately became the top candidate to re-check the Olympic title, in the absence of NHL players and thanks to the fact that they have many talented players who play in the Kontinental League.
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