Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The National Hockey League confirms the absence of players from the Beijing Olympics

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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
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The NHL made the official announcement on Wednesday. Information about this has been circulating for several days and It has become more and more important since Tuesday, at the end of the afternoon.

He had until January 10 at the latest to avoid fines. The NHL particularly stresses that several postponed games in recent days have made it impossible for its players to take part in the Olympic meeting.

The league intends to use the break that was due to reschedule matches that did not take place.

Commissioner Gary Pittman said in a statement that the National Hockey League respects and admires the will of its players who want to represent their country and participate in this elite tournament. We therefore waited as long as possible before making this decision, in order to evaluate all possible options for players to participate in the Winter Olympics.

Together with the players

On the part of the players’ union, director Donald Fehr responded in a statement by denouncing the health situation that forced its members to abandon participation in the Olympics.

Since extending the collegiate agreement 17 months ago, NHL players have been eagerly anticipating the possibility of a return to the Winter Olympics. Until recently, we seemed to be heading straight to Beijing.

Sadly, COVID-19 forced dozens of games to cancel in December alone. We would like it to be different, but we have to use the Olympic period to reschedule these matches.

Hockey players and fans are certainly disappointed. But it is important for us to play a full schedule of 82 matches, which the pandemic has prevented us from doing since the 2018-2019 season. We believe the NHL and the players can return to the Olympics in 2026.

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Unlike the owners, players have always expressed a desire to go to Beijing.

However, in recent weeks, many have expressed concerns about the epidemic and, above all, the possibility of staying in isolation in China for a long time if they test positive for COVID-19.

Within the Canadian team, Conor McDavid, John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron have already mentioned that while they want to represent their country, they are concerned about protocols in place for those who fall ill.

Mass COC

On the part of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), we are talking about a decision disappointing For supporters, acknowledging that it is inevitable. However, David Shoemaker, CEO of COC, says he hopes to have NHL hockey players back on the Olympic rinks within four years.

In a statement, Shoemaker said there is an extraordinary group of talent in Canadian hockey. We are excited to be joining our men’s team who will ice their first match on February 10th in pursuit of a fourth consecutive Olympic medal. Along with fans from across the country, we’ll also cheer on the amazing Women’s Team Canada as they attempt to climb to the Olympic podium for the seventh time in a row, in search of a fifth gold medal.

IIHF takes note

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its president Luke Tardiff also expressed their deep disappointment after the announcement of the NHL and its players.

Through all of our interactions with the International Olympic Committee, the 2022 Organizing Committee, the NHL and the NHLPA, we have always worked with the understanding that this situation may arise.

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It was a shock to see how COVID-19 turned the NHL table upside down overnight. We understand that the NHL’s decision was made for the health and safety of its players.

I thank Gary Bettman, John Daly and Donald Fehr for their commitment to returning the NHL to the Olympics. We look forward to speaking again to ensure that the best players can participate in games from 2026.

After participating in the Winter Games between 1998 and 2014, NHL players will miss the second consecutive meeting after Pyeongchang, as the NHL was unable to agree with the International Ice Hockey Federation.

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