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2022 Winter Olympics

Report: NHL Players Will Not Participate In 2022 Winter Olympics

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NHL forward and Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

As the NHL battles COVID-19 and presses pause through the Christmas break, the league will also not be sending players to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the NHL and NHLPA agreed that NHLers will not participate in the winter games come February. The next step is to notify the International Olympic Committee of their decision. There are also questions as to whether or not the IOC will postpone the games until 2023.

The NHL did not send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongyang, which ended five straight Olympics featuring NHL players. This would be the second consecutive Winter Games that the league would miss.

Right now, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. It has already impacted multiple sports leagues, including the NHL, NBA, NFL and Premier League.

The NHL and NHLPA agreed on Monday to pause the 2021-22 campaign starting on Wednesday and lasting through Christmas Day. Teams can resume practice on Dec. 26, with players needing a negative test to return. The regular-season schedule will then resume on Dec. 27.

Alex Ovechkin was the only member of the Capitals that was a lock for the 2022 Olympics. He was one of the first three athletes selected for the Russian Olympic Committee’s national men’s hockey team, joining Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

READ MORE ON WHN: Capitals-Flyers Postponed Due To Caps’ COVID-19 Issues

John Carlson and T.J. Oshie were also potential names for Team USA, and Tom Wilson was also on the long list for Team Canada. Nicklas Backstrom, if not for his injury, likely would’ve laced ’em up for Team Sweden, and Martin Fehervary would’ve been a possible selection for Team Slovakia.

As for Russia, Dmitry Orlov could have likely joined Ovechkin. ROC leadership Alexei Zhammov and Ilya Kovalchuk were working on lifting Evgeny Kuznetsov’s IIHF ban so he can play in Beijing. However, Russian outlets reported that IIHF president Luc Cardiff will not lift No. 92’s ban.

Due to COVID-19, the NHL has postponed 50 games this season, including 45 over the last eight days. Washington was set to play Philadelphia on Tuesday. However, Daniel Sprong and Justin Schultz were pulled from the morning skate after test results and the game was postponed. Washington then re-assigned Brett Leason and Joe Snively to Hershey.

The NHL did not send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongyang, which ended five straight Olympics featuring NHL players. This would be the second consecutive Winter Games that the league would miss.

Per Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland, sources confirmed that the NHL will use the Olympic break in February to make up those postponed games.

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