The NHL is returning to the Olympics. In a joint statement released on Friday by both the NHL and NHLPA, they announced they reached an agreement with IIHF that NHL players will be participating in the 2022 Bejing Olympics.
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) September 3, 2021
NHL Players Back To Olympics
For the first time since the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the NHL players are heading back to the Olympics. The NHL did not send its players to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. They decided that it was in their best interest not to send their players. While there was some backlash about that, the players agreed. However, as part of the return to play bubble last season, the NHL and NHLPA made a new CBA and Olympic participation was a part of the deal.
Both parties understood how much the players wanted to go to the Olympics. Even though the league and its owners probably do not want to go, they already put the schedule with the Olympic break in it. The 2021-22 NHL Season will break from February 3, 2022-February 22, 2022. The break will take place after the NHL All-Star Game in Vegas.
Players are going to the Olympics. Memo was sent to NHL players… pic.twitter.com/OGqVsEKK1O
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) September 3, 2021
As part of the agreement, all players participating in the games have to be vaccinated. In addition, any players who opt out of the 2021-22 season cannot participate in the games. And the final piece to the agreement is that the NHL and NHLPA hold the biggest ace in the hole as they have the ability to opt-out of the Olympics if CVOID-19 worsens and scheduling issues arise. Say for instance a regular season is cancelled because of COVID-19 and cannot be made up during the season that has a break in it.
What Does This Mean Going Forward
The NHL and the Olympics do not have a long history. But the NHL first sent its players back in 1998 where the Czech Republic won the gold medal. From there, Canada has dominated this tournament winning gold in 2002, 2010, and 2014. Sweden won gold in 2006. The United States picked up silver in 2002 and 2010. However, the last two Olympics have been played on international ice, the 2022 Olympics will be played on NHL ice, which will make the gameplay a lot better.
Players want to be there and represent their countries. And having a true best on best tournament is something beneficial to the fans to watch. We will see if we actually get NHL participation as the COVID-19 situation is worth watching, but one thing is for sure if we do get NHL players at the Olympics, so of the best and brightest talent will be on display for the world to see.
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