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Thursday, January 20, 2022

NHL Will Withdraw From Olympics After COVID Surge, Says Source

by John Varro and Stephen Whynow

The NHL will withdraw from the Winter Olympics after the regular-season schedule was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The man spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the NHL’s exit from Beijing had yet to be announced. The NHL informed the NHLPA on Tuesday that it retains its right to withdraw from participating in the Olympics because there was a material disruption to the season, the person said. The NHLPA was not going to dispute the decision.

An announcement was expected on Wednesday.

With 50 games already postponed, there was a fear the NHL would be unable to complete the full 82-game season, taking a break of more than two weeks in February for the Olympics. The bottom line of the NHL is at stake with the league and players do not take money directly from competing in winter sports.

While the NHL and the NHLPA agreed on Olympic participation last year as part of an expansion of a collective bargaining agreement, the deal to move to Beijing was contingent on the worsening of the pandemic situation. A physical interruption of the schedule allowed the league to pull out, and the Delta and Omicron variants spread across North America not only pushed games but also made some players hesitant about moving to China.

As a result, the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics would go on without NHL players for the second time in a row.

Sydney Crosby, the Pittsburgh captain who won Olympic gold with Canada in 2010 and 2014, said, “These are lifetime opportunities and experiences that you don’t get a lot of as an athlete, and you can only get one. ” Could fall in your window and if it doesn’t work, that’s unfortunate.”

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Unless the Beijing Games are postponed by a year like in Tokyo, a generation of stars, including American Austin Matthews, Canadian Conor McDavid and Nathan McKinnon, German Leon Dresitl and Swede Victor Heidman, will be expected to play in the Olympic men’s hockey tournament. Will have to wait till 2026 for that. first time.

“It’s something you’ve been waiting for a very long time,” Heidman said. “For us not to be able to leave, it’s going to hurt for a while.”

The NHL was in full swing on the Olympics until the Delta and Omicron coronaviruses began spreading in North America earlier this month and causing a postponement. Before Calgary’s outbreak in the first half of December, only five games needed to be rescheduled and one was already in place.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Conor Hellebuch, a potential US Olympic starter, on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the decision not to leave and called the postponement a rash of overkill.

The NHL didn’t compete at the Olympics until 1998, starting a string of five in a row through Sochi in 2014. The season did not kick off in 2018, with most professionals playing in Europe and a few college players in the South to make the roster. Korea.

Russia, which won the gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games, immediately becomes the favorite without the NHL due to the influx of domestic talent playing in the Continental Hockey League.

AP Sports writer Will Graves contributed to this report.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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