NHL players will return to the Olympics

NHL players will be able to compete in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.

This participation is conditional on an agreement between the NHL, the Players’ Association, the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The League’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 2014 is part of the four-year extension of the NHL / NHLPA collective agreement that has been ratified by the NHL Board of Governors and members of the NHL Association. NHL players, Friday.

COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT : NHL and NHLPA ratify extension of collective agreement | The 2020 NHL Draft will take place virtually on October 9-10 | The salary cap will remain at $ 81.5 million next season | Edmonton and Toronto will be the two host cities | Unsigned prospects ineligible for qualifying round

The Board of Governors and NHLPA also ratified the NHL Resumption of Activities Plan for this season on Friday, which includes protocols for Phase 3 (training camps open from Monday) and Phase 4 (the resumption of matches from August 1).

“I think it’s an attractive idea because it allows us to grow and promote hockey,” said Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin williams about participation in the Olympics, Tuesday. “The best players will be there. I think it’s great for hockey to be able to showcase the best players, players you don’t usually see as teammates. It is so unique. The Olympics are a special event in their own way, but with the NHL players in attendance, you’ll see the best against the best, and it’s very, very special. « 

FIHG President René Fasel told The Associated Press that he sees no obstacle that would prevent the League and the NHLPA from agreeing with the IOC and the FIHG to send NHL players to the two next Winter Games.

“No, I don’t think that will change everything,” Fasel said. There are a lot of challenges, but in general I would say that the fact that it’s in the collective agreement is very good news for me and especially for international hockey. « 

The NHL did not send players to the PyeongChang Games in 2018 after competing in five consecutive Olympic Games from 1998 to 2014. A total of 706 NHL players participated in those five Winter Games, an average of 141 per tournament.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the majority of teams were opposed to competing in the Olympics when the League announced its decision not to compete in the 2018 Games.

The main reason for the NHL’s refusal at this time was the two-and-a-half-week hiatus that a participation in the Olympics would have required during February. The IOC also refused to reimburse the League’s expenses associated with travel, insurance and accommodation.

Fasel said these issues can be addressed in order to send NHL players to the Olympics in 2022 and 2026, which is now possible due to its inclusion by the NHL and NHLPA in the collective agreement.

Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat was very happy that NHL players returned to the Olympics, and that it would be magical for the players and for the sport.

“Everyone wants to represent their country, everyone wants to play in the Olympics. This is an important thing that we ask for, not only so that we can represent our country, but also to make hockey grow, explained Horvat. I think it’s great to have negotiated it and to be able to play in the next Olympics. It’s great for hockey, it’s great for the fans and it’s great for us players to be able to represent our countries, so we’re excited. « 

Canada has won Olympic gold three times (2002, 2010, 2014) with the participation of NHL players. Sweden took the top step of the podium in 2006, while the Czech Republic did the same in 1998.

The United States won the silver medal in 2002 and 2010. Sweden won it in 2014, as did Finland in 2006 and Russia in 1998. Finland finished third on three occasions (1998, 2010, 2014), while Russia (2002) and the Czech Republic (2006) have done the same on one occasion.

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