Today the NHL officially announced that players would not be going to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
In the statement NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said:
“Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events — 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 — Olympic participation is no longer feasible.”
The NHL players missing out on another Olympics is disappointing, but it is understandable why the parties involved pulled out. Earlier this month Robin Lehner talked about taking himself out of consideration, and how tough it was to make the decision, even though it was in his best interest.
Took long time to make decision with my psychiatrist and family. My well being have too come first and being locked down and not knowing what happens if you test positive is to much of a risk for me. Sweden will have a great team and Markström is a beast.Hope people understand ❤️— Robin Lehner (@RobinLehner) December 6, 2021
The NHLPA also released a statement.
The statement reads:
Since the CBA extension was reached 17 months ago, NHL players have looked forward with great anticipation to once again participating in the Winter Olympics. Until very recently, we seemed to be on a clear path to go to Beijing. COVID-19 has unfortunately intervened, forcing dozens of games to be postponed this month alone. No matter how much we wish it were not the case, we need to utilize the Olympic period to reschedule these games.
Certainly, the players and hockey fans are quite disappointed. But playing a full 82-game season this year, something the pandemic has prevented us from doing since the 2018-19 season, is very important. We expect that NHL players will return to the Olympics in 2026.
The break, which was to start after the NHL All-Star Game festivities being held in Las Vegas, will now be utilized for rescheduling previously postponed games dependent on arena availability. Thus far the Golden Knights have had one game postponed, and that was December 23rd’s contest vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
During the block of time that the NHL players were originally going to participate in the Olympics, T-Mobile Arena will host Kane Brown on February 6, George Strait on February 11 and 12, and Justin Bieber on February 20. Thus far having only one game to make up means they should be able to fit it in on one of the off days at T-Mobile, but there’s obviously still a chance additional games could be postponed after the holiday break.