Ice HockeyNHL won’t send players to Beijing Olympics
Due to the health situation in the United States and Canada which is paralyzing the championship and the rules imposed in China, the best hockey players in the world will not be present in China.
The news will be made official in the coming hours by the IOC, the NHL and the NHL Players Association (NHLPA), as several reference media across the Atlantic announce: North American professional league hockey players will not be present at the Beijing Olympics which will take place from February 4 to 20, 2022.
Absent from the PyeongChang Games in 2018, the NHL had released its players for the Chinese games, under pressure from hockey players who had obtained this right in the negotiation of the new collective labor agreement a year ago.
But the health situation and the constraints imposed by the organizers of the Olympic Games forced the senior authorities of the NHL and the NHLPA to backtrack.
Switzerland deprived of 13 players
The North American Championship is currently crippled by outbreaks of Covid-19 cases in the locker room. 137 players and coaches are in isolation and only one of the ten meetings scheduled for the night from Tuesday to Wednesday can take place. The NHL, which has already postponed around fifty matches, needs the dates originally planned for the Olympic tournament to fit these duels.
The rules to which those accredited to the Beijing Olympics will be subject have also dampened the enthusiasm of the players. A quarantine period of between three and five weeks could be imposed. Several league stars, including Edmonton star forward Connor McDavid, had expressed their reservations in recent days.
Switzerland, which will face Russia, the Czech Republic and Denmark in the first phase of the tournament, will therefore not be able to count on the 13 Swiss players who have skated in the best league in the world. Coach Patrick Fischer will have to select 25 professionals from the National League championship, several of whom played at the NaturEnergy Challenge in Visp last week