After speculation and anticipation, the NHL and the NHLPA have come to an agreement with the IIHF which is set to send NHLers to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. This will be the sixth time that the NHL has participated in the Games.
While the NHL has built the Olympic break into the schedule, the league and players can choose to withdraw from Beijing at any time should the concerns around the pandemic become too substantial. The league is still set to have an All-Star weekend in Las Vegas in addition to the Olympic break.
The NHL skipped the 2018 Pyeongchang Games so this will be the first time we’ve seen the best of the best in men’s hockey since 2014 in Sochi. At those games, Canada took gold with a 3-0 win over Sweden and Finland took the bronze.
Player’s contracts will be insured should injury occur at the games. The NHL will not cover loss of salary due to COVID-19 but the IIHF is set to provide a fund of $5 million should it be necessary. The IIHF and IOC will cover insurance and travel costs for NHL players and their guests.
The Olympics open on February 4th 2022 and men’s hockey will begin on the 9th. The Games will be wrapped up on the 20th and the players will head back to their NHL teams for the end of the season.
With the large amount of time passed since the NHL’s last appearance at the Games, expect to see heavy turnover on national team rosters for Beijing. Connor McDavid has yet to play at the Olympics, along with many of hockey’s young stars.
The Beijing Olympic Games are only a few months away so countries and their staff will look ahead at picking their rosters in hopes of a gold medal.