NHL Players Will Not Be Participating In The 2022 Winter Olympics Due to COVID-19

Last Updated: Dec 21st 2021   Published: Dec 21st 2021   2 Min Read
NHL Players Will Not Be Participating In The 2022 Winter Olympics Due to COVID-19
Image © Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL and the NHLPA have come to an agreement to not participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. This decision comes after the most recent resurgence of COVID-19, and the looming threat that the Omnicron variant poses.
The NHL and the Players Association had previously negotiated a deal where they would participate in the 2022 Olympics, but a clause in the contract allowed them to opt-out before January 17th without penalty, as long as the reason for leaving was COVID related.
The NHL has been dealing with a slew of COVID related issues so far this season, being forced to postpone over 50 games due to outbreaks within teams. The NHL also implemented a pause in play through Christmas in an attempt to quell the increasing COVID transmission rate.
The break in play initially reserved for the Olympics will now be used to reschedule the previously postponed games. This poses an issue because many arenas had used that time to book concerts or other events, so there may be a lack of arena availability during that time. Regardless, there’s no doubt that this time will be used to uncomplicate this very messy season.
The news is expected to come with a mixed reception, as some players have already spoken out about the unfortunate situation. "Yeah, that sucks. I think everyone was looking forward to this," Winnipeg Jets Winger Kyle Connor said. "We made it a big part of our collective bargaining agreement as the players, to bring the Olympics back. Whether it's about different circumstances about going to China with COVID and everything, I think it would have been a great tournament."

As of right now, the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites to lift the Stanley Cup at +550 on BetMGM. They had won five out of their last six before the league wide break in play, and have scored an NHL best 115 goals on the season. While they currently sit in fourth in the Western Conference, many of their games have been postponed so that’s likely to change once play resumes.
It’ll be interesting to see how the remainder of the NHL season plays out, and if they are able to get over this COVID outbreak.