NHL, NHLPA strike deal for players to participate in 2022 Olympics

There will be a break in February with NHL players heading to Beijing for the games.

NHL players are going back to Olympic competition.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association officially struck a deal Friday that will allow the players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.

The break officially begins Feb. 3, starting with All-Star weekend in Las Vegas from Feb. 4-5, running through Feb. 22. The gold medal game is currently slated for Feb. 20.

“I know that I can speak for hockey fans around the world when I say that we absolutely welcome the decision to bring back best-on-best ice hockey to the Olympics,” said IIHF President René Fasel in a statement. “We had many constructive discussions, and a lot of hard work was put into making this happen within the time we set out for ourselves, and I want to thank all parties involved for their support and commitment.”

This will mark the first time players are participating in the Olympics since 2014 in Sochi. The league opted not to have participation in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

As for who’s going for the Vegas Golden Knights, one confirmed name is coach Pete DeBoer as a member for Team Canada’s staff under Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper.

There is likely to be plenty of participation from the Golden Knights’ roster. Captain Mark Stone is surely a lock in the forward group, along with defensemen Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo.

For Sweden, William Karlsson is an option down the middle. Robin Lehner could very much be the starting goalie.

The United States would love to have someone like Alex Tuch on the roster, but Tuch may have to pass due to recovering from hip surgery. Max Pacioretty, who was on the 2014 Olympic team and the 2016 World Cup team, is a viable option.

Depending on how he performs in his first season with Vegas, another name to keep an eye on would be newcomer Evgenii Dadonov with the Russian squad.

“We understand how passionately NHL players feel about representing and competing for their countries,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We are very pleased that we were able to conclude arrangements that will allow them to resume best-on-best competition on the Olympic stage.”