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Report: NHL to break for 2022 Olympics, no word on player eligibility

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The NHL will meet with the IOC to determine if its players will compete in the 2022 Olympics.
USA Today

The 2021-22 NHL regular season schedule will be released Thursday, and it reportedly will include a break for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The break will last from Feb. 5-22 next season, ESPN's Greg Wyshynski reported, though it is still not guaranteed that players will be allowed to participate in the Games. NHL players were barred from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

There was an expectation that players would be allowed to compete in 2022 and 2026 based on the language in the latest collective bargaining agreement signed last summer. That is still in question, however, as the league still has issues to sort out with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"We negotiated in good faith with the Players' Association last summer," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in June. "We agreed that if the conditions were right and we could reach an agreement on all the material issues, that we would commit and support going to the Olympics. That remains our position."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently cited "real concerns" about player participation, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Olympics. The reported Olympic break in the schedule is a positive sign that players will be allowed to compete, but nothing is confirmed just yet. Wyshynski reported that a deal could be struck in late July.