NEW YORK – Plans to have the players take a break from their National Hockey League season to participate in the Winter Olympics have been in place since July.
But it wasn’t until Friday that it became official that athletes from the league will be able to represent their country in February.
On Friday, the NHL and NHLPA announced their agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation that confirms that players will be headed to Beijing for the games. This means the league will pause play from February 7th through the 22nd to allow players to participate in the games.
Included in the agreement is an ability to withdraw players from the games should COVID-19 conditions worsen. That decision would be made by both the NHL and the player’s association.
This is the first time since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi that NHL athletes will represent their countries in the middle of the season. The players didn’t participate in the 2018 PyeongChang games.
The Beijing games will be the sixth time that NHL players will participate in the Winter Olympics, having done so in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014.