Hockey fans received some great news Friday when the NHL and NHLPA announced they have reached an agreement with the IIHF to send their players to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
"The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that they have concluded an Agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) that confirms a break in the 2021-22 NHL Regular Season Schedule, subject to terms of the Agreement, in order to accommodate the participation of NHL Players in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Agreement allows for the possibility of a later decision to withdraw in the event evolving COVID-19 conditions are deemed by the NHL/NHLPA to render participation by NHL Players to be impractical or unsafe."
The 2022 Olympics will be the first with NHL player participation since 2014 when Canada defeated Sweden in the gold medal game. The United States lost to Canada in the semifinals and also was defeated by Finland in the bronze medal matchup.
The Olympic Athletes from Russia squad defeated Germany in the gold medal game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The 2022 Winter Games could see the Olympic debuts of some of the best players in the NHL. This list includes Edmonton Oilers center and reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid (Canada), Boston Bruins right winger David Pastrnak (Czech Republic) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (United States).
Canada is expected to be the gold medal favorites entering the 2022 Olympics with NHL players taking part in the competition. The United States also will field one of its best rosters in a long time. In addition to Matthews, other American stars such as Patrick Kane and Jack Eichel could play prominent roles.