— Published 30 June 2021

NHL participation still in question

NHL

Will NHL players, the North American professional ice hockey league, participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games? Eight months before the event, the question is still unanswered. According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, doubts are even bigger. “We’re really questioning whether or not it makes sense to go to the Games,” he admitted earlier this week at a press conference on the sidelines of the Stanley Cup final. “We’re already past the point where we were hoping this would be resolved”. Gary Bettman explained: the NHL plans to unveil its schedule for the 2021/2022 season before the next draft, scheduled for July 23rd, 2021. The schedule will reveal whether or not the league has scheduled a break to allow selected players to rejoin their national teams and participate in the Olympic tournament. According to Gary Bettman, the discussions have not been halted because the NHL committed to making every effort to participate in the 2022 Beijing Games when it extended its collective bargaining agreement with the Players’ Association. However, several issues are blocking progress in the negotiations, including the insurance issue related to COVID-19. René Fasel, the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), is still optimistic. The Swiss executive told the Associated Press that the NHL has developed two schedules for next season, one with an Olympic break and one without.