Capitals

Gary Bettman: Players will decide on Olympic participation

Capitals

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is less than two months away, and various countries are in the process of constructing their men’s hockey teams with the assumption of NHL players being available. 

Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed concerns over NHL players traveling to play in the Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic at a press conference in Palm Beach Florida Friday.

Despite those concerns, the NHL plans to honor its commitment to the players regarding their participation in the Olympic games. If the players want to head to Beijing, they'll be able to do just that.

“As part of the extension of the collective bargaining agreement, 20 or so months ago, we made a promise to give the players, if they so desired and the appropriate arrangements could be made, to have the players participate in the Olympics,” Bettman said. “I think you all know that we have real concerns about that, even pre-COVID in terms of the impact on the season. Our concerns have only been magnified.”

From 1998 to 2014, the NHL allowed its players to participate in the winter games. Furthermore, Canada Hockey has already named its first three players in Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Alex Pietrangelo to their team.