NHL will not return to Olympics once again

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NHL.com

The NHL declared that they will not be participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Mikalah Smith, Asst. Sports Editor

Another winter meansanother Winter Olympic games. This year, the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing, China. Many hoped that this year the National Hockey League (NHL) would be able to have some of its top players compete in the Olympics. However, the league decided it would be best to not compete since COVID-19 put a delay in the season in December, 2021. More than 25 games were postponed and will be rescheduled for February, when the Olympics would have normally taken place. 

The NHL last participated in the 2014 Olympics in Russia. This year, COVID-19 affected the league, and many players from each of the 32 teams are currently on the protocol list. Many say it is safer to stay home and play the regular season games than to risk getting the virus at the Olympics. Fans were upset to see the games get rescheduled,due to COVID-19. 

According to the Olympics official website, the league was not able to participate in the 2018 Olympics due to the driving force behind the participation agreement, which was reached in September 2018. The Olympics organization was truly disappointed that they will miss out on another Olympic Winter Games. 

Several players from the Pittsburgh Penguins were supposed to support their countries. These players include Sidney Crosby who would support Canada, Jake Guentzel who would represent the U.S., Evgeni Malkin who would support Russia and Teddy Blueger who would support Latvia. Their head coach Mike Sullivan was originally scheduled to coach Team USA. 

There have been 50 games throughout the NHL rescheduled so far., but they were postponed.The games will be rescheduled when the Olympic games fall. People are understanding that the players are putting their health first so they can play in the rescheduled games. 

“Our focus and goal have been and must remain to responsibly and safely complete the entirety of the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs in a timely manner,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “Therefore, with stringent health protocols once again in place, we will begin utilizing available dates during the Feb. 6-22 window (originally contemplated to accommodate Olympic participation) to reschedule games that have been, or may yet be, postponed.” 

Before COVID-19 hit the NHL, the players were expected to play in the Olympics. Although they still had a chance to go and had other options, it was best to stay home and play in the regular season games to keep safe. Also according to National Hockey League , many players and hockey fans from all around are very upset and disappointed with the decision to skip the Olympics. The NHL hopes they will be able to participate in the next Winter Olympics, which will take place in 2026.