After months of rumors, it was made official on Friday morning: the NHL will again permit its players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The news was confirmed in a tweet from the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Twitter account on Friday morning:
IIHF president Rene Fasel was quoted in the story linked above, saying:
“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. “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.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly added:
“We understand how passionately NHL Players feel about representing and competing for their countries. 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.“
- The Olympics run from Feb. 9, 2022 until Feb. 20, 2022
- National teams will submit a “long list” of players by Oct. 15, 2021, with provisional rosters to follow in January 2022
- Players have the right to opt out of participating without a penalty and the league also reserves the right to terminate the agreement at any time
- A significant sticking point in the negotiations was insurance for the players in the event of an injury. Per the memo, players will have their contract insured in the event of an injury and the IIHF (or the international team federations) will cover that cost. However, in bold letters, the statement also read: There is NO insurance for COVID-related illness.
- The memo also states that “we expect everyone inside the bubble, including athletes, will have to be vaccinated (with very limited exceptions).”
NHL players were not permitted at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, with Russia taking home the gold medal. The last time NHL players participated — the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 to win the gold medal that year. Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp were the Blackhawks representatives on that 2014 roster for Team Canada.