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NHL pulls out of Beijing Olympics after COVID spike, AP source says

Pittsburgh Penguin Center Sidney Crosby (87 years old) gets a boost as New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20 years old) and Kasperi Kapanen Penguin Right Wing (42 years old) take a look for the first time the first day of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, December 19, 2021, in Newark, NJ (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

(AP) – The NHL will pull out of the Winter Olympics after the regular season’s schedule was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press today. Tuesday.

This person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because it has yet to announce the NHL’s withdrawal from Beijing. The NHL informed the NHLPA on Tuesday that it retains the right to withdraw from the Olympics because of a physical disruption to the season, the person said. The NHLPA will not contest this decision.

An announcement was expected on Wednesday.

With 50 games postponed, it is feared that the NHL will not be able to complete the full 82 games of the season while also taking a more than two-week break in February for the Olympics. The bottom line of the NHL is threatened by the federation and the players not earning directly from competing in the Winter Olympics.

While the NHL and NHLPA agreed on Olympic participation last year as part of a collective bargaining agreement to extend, the deal to go to Beijing is contingent on pandemic conditions not getting worse. A severe schedule disruption has allowed the tournament to be withdrawn, and the delta and omicron variations spreading across North America have not only caused games to be postponed, but have also made some players hesitant about going. go to China.

As a result, the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics will take place for the second time in a row without NHL players in attendance.

“These are lifetime opportunities and experiences that you don’t get a lot of as an athlete, and you can only get one,” said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who won an Olympic gold medal with Canada. 2010 and 2014. “It’s just possible that falls in your window and if it doesn’t happen by accident, it’s a shame. ”

Unless the Beijing Games are postponed by a year like Tokyo, a generation of stars including Americans Auston Matthews, Canadians Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon, German Leon Draisaitl and Swede Victor Hedman will need to wait until 2026 to play in the men’s Olympic hockey tournament for the first time.

“It’s something you’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Hedman. “For us can’t go, it will hurt for a while.”

The NHL was fully involved in the Olympics until delta and omicron coronavirus variants began spreading across North America earlier this month and caused a postponement. Before Calgary’s game outburst in the first half of December, there were only five games that needed to be rescheduled and one was done.

Winnipeg Jets goalkeeper Connor Hellebuyck, who is likely to start the US Olympics, expressed displeasure on Tuesday with the decision not to go and called the haste of the delay overkill. set.

The NHL did not participate in the Olympics until 1998, starting a five-match streak against Sochi in 2014. The season did not stop in 2018, leaving the majority of professionals playing in Europe and some bridges. university player to occupy the list in the South. Korea.

Russia, which won a gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, immediately became the favorite team without the NHL thanks to the influx of homegrown talent competing in the Kontintental Hockey League.

https://kfor.com/news/olympics/nhl-pulling-out-of-beijing-olympics-after-covid-surge-ap-source-says/ NHL pulls out of Beijing Olympics after COVID spike, AP source says

JACLYN DIAZ

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