NHL withdraws from Winter Olympics in Beijing

NHL logo generic
NHL logo generic

In a move that had been expected due to the rising number of COVID cases and the potential of lengthy quarantines in Beijing for players who test positive, the NHL has officially withdrawn from participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The NHL is currently in a shutdown due to COVID, with games scheduled to resume on Dec. 27.

The league cited the "regular-season schedule having been materially disrupted as a result of increasing COVID cases and a rising number of postponed games" for the withdrawal from the Olympics.

Here is the full announcement:

The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL Players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament. Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our Players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events -- 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 -- Olympic participation is no longer feasible. We certainly acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Beijing Organizing Committee to host NHL Players but current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone’s best efforts. We look forward to Olympic participation in 2026.

Our focus and goal have been and must remain to responsibly and safely complete the entirety of the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs in a timely manner. Therefore, with stringent health protocols once again in place, we will begin utilizing available dates during the Feb. 6-22 window (originally contemplated to accommodate Olympic participation) to reschedule games that have been, or may yet be, postponed.”