NHL players to skip the Beijing Olympics

National Hockey League players will miss out on the 2022 Beijing Olympics, a reversal of plans announced in September and a signal of fe...

National Hockey League players will miss out on the 2022 Beijing Olympics, a reversal of plans announced in September and a signal of fears spreading across the sport about how the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic could derail seasons and competitions around the world.

The NHL, which has already postponed dozens of its games, is particularly concerned in recent days about its ability to finish its season on schedule. The league’s decision on the Olympics, which it has taken in coordination with its players’ union, offers a potential logistical lifeline as the three-week break scheduled for the Games could become a window to catch up on postponed games.

The league and NHL Players Association announced their reworked deal on Wednesday, a change that was recently telegraphed in related developments.

On Monday alone, the NHL said it suspend his season for several days after an increasing number of players have been excluded from games after entering league health and safety protocols.

While the decision that NHL players would not go to Beijing was rooted in the league’s growing concerns about its season, it was of disproportionate importance to perceptions about an Olympics already mired in political turmoil and crisis. public health. The absence of hockey’s top players will undermine the glare of the men’s Olympic tournament, which will likely feature minor leagues and those who play in other organizations rather than figures like NHL stars Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid.

Chinese officials have pledged to continue the Olympic festivities as planned, with the opening ceremony scheduled for February 4. NFL to the English Premier League.

Less than four months ago, after all, the NHL and its players toasted a deal to load rosters for the men’s tournament in Beijing with some of the best players in the world.

The plan, as it stood, had seemed likely to usher in a big showcase for international hockey after the NHL did not send its players at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a choice that angered players and left the Olympic tournament deprived of the star power it had grown accustomed to in previous decades.

The 2018 Games decision, however, could be attributed to more traditional concerns about injury, income distribution and the general irritation complicating the regular season. The decision to skip the Beijing Games reflected a much more complex puzzle, made up of potentially long quarantines and lost NHL paychecks for players who might have missed league games after returning from the Olympics.

But the disruption of the regular season was particularly significant, officials said, and the NHL had spent the past few weeks signaling its growing concerns about the Olympic tournament. On Sunday, with the NHL having already announced 39 postponements of regular season games, the league said it had suspended cross-border travel for its games and that it was “actively discussing” the issue of the Olympics with the players and their union. .

Individual players had also expressed reservations. Robin Lehner, a NHL Vegas Golden Knights goaltender, spoke of mental health issues on December 6 when he announced he would not play for Sweden in Beijing.

“My well-being also came first and being locked up and not knowing what happens if you test positive is a big risk for me,” Lehner wrote on Twitter.

Chinese Olympic officials and organizers recently released their latest health and safety plans for the Games, including strict quarantine and isolation protocols for anyone who tests positive in Beijing for the Olympics.

While fully vaccinated athletes do not have to be quarantined before the Games – participants who are not vaccinated will need to spend 21 days in isolation upon arrival in Beijing – they and other visitors will be subjected to daily testing for a while. their stay in China. Interactions with the public will be prohibited, with athletes and other Games personnel locked into a “closed-loop management system” that should resemble the so-called bubble that the NBA to end his 2019-2020 season.

The Olympic hockey tournament is scheduled to begin on February 9, when the Russian team will face Switzerland. A Russian team, which enjoyed a strong national championship, won gold in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

The NHL’s decision will not affect the women’s tournament, which is scheduled to begin on February 3, one day before the official opening of the Games.

Victor mather contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NHL players to skip the Beijing Olympics
NHL players to skip the Beijing Olympics
Newsrust - US Top News
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