For the debate and excitement over the NHL players going to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the public outcry over Chinese oppression and likely imprisonment of a female tennis player who accused a Communist Party official of sexual assault, all signs point to NHL players not going to the Olympics. The final decision will be made within a few days, but there is little optimism as the NHL season collides with COVID, again.
In a joint statement by the NHL and NHLPA, the two sides announced the NHL season will continue without a pause, but teams will not cross borders until after the Holiday Break, which begins on Dec. 23.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby is, or was, expected to captain Team Canada. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is the Team USA head coach. Former Penguins assistant GM, Bill Guerin was recently named the Team USA GM.
However, most reputable sources are reporting the Olympics are unlikely. Elliotte Friedman reported the announcement will be made in a few days. Even the boys at Spittin’ Chiclets chimed in.
Per a source, NHL players will NOT be going to the Olympics. #RumorBoys
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) December 19, 2021
Following several days of meetings with their respective medical experts amid increasing positive test results and rising numbers of postponed games, the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today jointly announced the following:
i) We will continue to play the 2021-22 regular-season schedule. Although there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness. Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily. The NHL and NHLPA, along with their medical experts, will be monitoring not only the number and pattern of positive COVID results, but also the depth of Club line-ups so as to ensure both the health and safety of the Players and the integrity of League competition.
ii) Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, effective on Monday, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Monday, Dec. 20 through the start of the holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled. Those additional postponements include:
Monday, Dec. 20:
Montreal @ NY Islanders; Anaheim @ Edmonton
Tuesday, Dec. 21:
St. Louis @ Ottawa; Vancouver @ San Jose
Wednesday, Dec. 22:
Montreal @ NY Rangers; Winnipeg @ Dallas; Edmonton @ Los Angeles
Thursday, Dec. 23:
St. Louis @ Toronto; Carolina @ Ottawa; Montreal @ New Jersey; Anaheim @ Vancouver;
Edmonton @ San Jose
(a full list of NHL postponements to date can be found on the League’s media site)
iii) Given the disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events – 27 games had been postponed as of Saturday and at least 12 more will be postponed through Dec. 23 – and the continued uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the NHL and NHLPA are actively discussing the matter of NHL Player participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and expect to be in a position to announce a final determination in the coming days.
With the number one priority of maintaining the health and safety of our NHL community, and amid changing and unpredictable conditions, we are determined to remain flexible and adaptable both in terms of scheduling and in adjusting Protocols as necessary.