The NHL made the official announcement on Wednesday. Information about this has been circulating for days The late afternoon has taken on more significance since Tuesday.
The circuit has until Jan. 10 to avoid financial penalties. The NHL has stressed that it is impossible for its players to attend the Olympic Conference, especially due to the number of games being postponed in recent days.
The league hopes to use the scheduled break to reschedule non-playing games.
Commissioner Gary Betman said in a statement that the National Hockey League respects and admires the willingness of their players to represent their country and participate in this elite tournament. We have been waiting as long as possible before making this decision, to assess all the possible options for the athletes participating in the Winter Olympics.
Together with the players
On behalf of the Players’ Association (AJLNH), Director Donald Fehr responded in a statement by inquiring into the health condition of its members who had to give up the Olympic partnership.
Since the collective agreement was extended 17 months ago, NHL players have been eagerly awaiting their return to the Winter Olympics. Until recently, it seemed like we were going straight to Beijing.
Sadly, COVID-19 had to cancel dozens of games in December alone. We want to be otherwise, but we must use the Olympic period to reschedule these matches.
Certainly hockey players and fans are disappointed. But it is important for us to play the full schedule of 82 games that have plagued us since the 2018-2019 season. We are confident that the NHL and athletes will return to the 2026 Olympics.
Unlike the owners, the players have always expressed their desire to move to Beijing.
However, in recent weeks, many people have expressed their concerns about the pandemic and, above all, the possibility of being alone in China for a longer period of time if they test positive for COVID-19.
In the Canadian team, Connor McDavid, John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron have already stated that they are concerned about the protocols set up for those affected by the disease, even though they want to represent their country.
Towards the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), we are talking about a decision
Frustrated For supporters, while acknowledging that this is inevitable. COC CEO David Schumacher, however, said he hopes NHL hockey players will return to the Olympic rink in four years.
Schumacher said in a statement that Canadian hockey has extraordinary talent. We are excited to join our men’s team that will be snowing for their first game on February 10 in search of a fourth consecutive Olympic medal. In addition to the fans across the country, we also cheer them on as Canada’s amazing women’s team seeks to reach the Olympic podium for the seventh time in a row in search of a fifth gold medal.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its president Luke Tordiff also expressed their frustration with the announcement of the NHL and its players.
Through all our interactions with the International Olympic Committee, the Organizing Committee for the 2022 Games, the NHL and the NHLPA, we have always been aware that this situation could arise.
It was amazing to see how the COVID-19 NHL schedule was virtually overturned overnight. We understand that the NHL’s decision was made for the health and safety of its players.
I thank Gary Betman, John Daly and Donald Fehr for their commitment to the NHL’s return to the Olympics. We look forward to talking again to make sure we have the best players in the Games from 2026 onwards.
After participating in the Winter Games between 1998 and 2014, the NHL players miss the second consecutive meeting after Pyeongchang, where the NHL disagrees with the International Ice Hockey Federation.