The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing will in all likelihood take place without the professionals from the National Hockey League. This was reported by the AP news agency, the Washington Post and the New York Times on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. Actually, the NHL agreed in the collective agreement before the start of the season that the professionals from the North American professional league would be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics again. Theoretically, the NHL would have until January 10 to back down. Olympia without the stars from the best league in the world? That wouldn’t be a new scenario, especially since the best NHL players were already missing in Pyeongchang in 2018. Most recently, the stars from the National Hockey League played in Sochi in 2014.
For the first time, the NHL players were at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. Since then they have been at the Winter Games until 2018. In Pyeongchang, however, that was no longer the case. The International Olympic Committee and the World Ice Hockey Federation IIHF were unable to persuade the NHL team owners to interrupt the season in the coming year as they did at the last five Winter Games. It was about millions of dollars as insurance for the players in the event of an injury.
It was only on Monday that the NHL extended the Christmas break and prohibited all 32 teams from using their training grounds from December 22nd to 25th. Teams will not be allowed to travel or train in the afternoon until December 26th. A total of 50 games have been canceled so far. Even without a break from the Olympics in February, it will not be easy to make up for these matches – many of the NHL teams’ halls have been booked for other events during the Games.
Even before the official announcement of the decision, which the NHL reported to the players’ union on Tuesday, the NHL stars expressed their disappointment. Defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning’s Swede Victor Hedman, who has never competed in the Olympics, said: “This is something you’ve been looking forward to for a long time. That we can’t go there will hurt for a while. ” Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2010 and 2014, said, “These are opportunities and life experiences that you don’t get many of as an athlete, you might just get one.”