The NHL and the NHLPA have announced their agreement to not send players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to the effect COVID-19 has had on the 2021-22 NHL season.
NHL announces that there will not be an Olympic break, NHL Players will not be able to participate in 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 22, 2021
The NHL had built into the 2021-22 schedule a two-week break from Feb. 7 to Feb. 22 in order to participate. Those two weeks will now be used to make up the 50 games that have already been postponed due to COVID-19, as well as potential future games that may be postponed.
In 2018, the NHL elected to not go to the Pyeongchang Olympics as the February break that season would be a major disruption to the regular-season schedule. That was the first time since the 1998 Winter Olympics that the NHL did not send their players.
While the rosters for the countries competing in the Olympics were never finalized, the New York Islanders had a few players that would have had a chance to play for their respective countries. Defenseman Adam Pelech could have made Team Canada, but may not have been flashy enough for their liking. His counterpart Ryan Pulock had a slim chance to make Team Canada but has missed significant time this season with a lower-body injury.
For Team USA, Anders Lee would have received some attention but was never projected to make their roster. The Islanders could have seen either of their netminders Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin win the backup job for the Russian Olympic Committee. Varlamov is still looking to get back to the game he brought in 2020-21 and with how well New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin has played, it would have been a battle.
NHL players have not participated in the Winter Olympics since 2014.
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