The NHL and NHLPA announced Wednesday that NHL players will not go to Beijing and participate in the Winter Olympics. This will be the second straight Winter Games in which NHLers have not been able to play for their country on what many consider the grandest stage.
“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 in a press release Wednesday. “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.”
National Hockey Now has confirmed that this decision was not only a difficult one for all involved but that it has also caused some internal strife within the NHLPA.
“There’s definitely some major division within the PA ranks right now,” an NHL player agent told NHN. “Some feel that with how hard the union fought to play in these Olympics that others capitulated like they always seem to do with the league. I think we all get the gravity of COVID and health concerns but are the players going if we had lightened protocol?”