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NHL Players Returning to Olympic Stage in 2022

Players will participate for the first time since 2014 Winter Games

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The NHL is headed back to the world’s biggest stage.

The league and the NHL Players Association announced on Friday that they had come to an agreement with the Internation Ice Hocke Federation to allow for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. It had appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the upcoming Winter Games would include the participation of players from the NHL.

The agreement does allow for the NHL and NHLPA to withdraw from the event if COVID-19 makes it “impractical or unsafe.”

“Representing their country in the Olympics is important to the players, even in these uncertain times,” NHLPA General Counsel Don Zavelo said in a press release. “The players look forward to pulling on their nation’s hockey sweater at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as they compete for the gold medal.”

The league had included a break in February to accommodate for the possibility of Olympic participation. The league will pause its season from Feb3 to Feb. 22 for the all-star game in Las Vegas and the Olympics.

The 2022 games will be the first time since 2014 that NHL players will participate in the Winter Olympics. The league had its players participate in the Olympics from 1998 to 2014 before keeping players home during the 2018 games.

“We understand how passionately NHL Players feel about representing and competing for their countries,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “We are very pleased that we were able to conclude arrangements that will allow them to resume best on best competition on the Olympic stage.”

The NHL agreed to allow players to go back to the Olympics last year as part of the extended collective bargaining agreement between the league and players association. The IIHF and NHLPA had been working to hammer out a deal to get players back in the Olympics since then.

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