It seems that NHL players will be headed back to the Olympics this winter, according to a new report.
Ken Yaffe of Hockey Wanderlüst, and a colleague of Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson, is reporting that the NHL players taking part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing is a “forgone conclusion.” It appears the only thing that would change that is a massive COVID-19 outbreak.
It will mark the first time since the 2014 Olympics in Sochi that NHL players will participate in the Winter Games.
The NHL had agreed as part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2020 to work on Olympic participation for its players. The NHLPA had been negotiating with the IIHF and the NHL had worked a three-week pause into its schedule this season to allow for Olympic participation.
The IIHF has also agreed to cover insurance for players, including covering COVID-19.
One member of the New York Islanders was already set to go to Bejing. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was named to the Team Canada coaching staff earlier this month. The Islanders are likely to have a few players that will participate in the Olympics.
The NHL has been skeptical of sending its players to the Olympics in the past over concerns that key players could get hurt during the tournament and the major interruption it has had on the season. Former Islanders general manager Garth Snow fumed in 2014 after John Tavares was injured playing for Team Canada in the Olympics in Sochi.