Winter Olympics: NHL will not send players to Beijing because of COVID-19 disruptions

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The National Hockey League (NHL) on Wednesday confirmed that it will not send its players to compete in the men’s ice hockey tournament at the Beijing Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 disruptions.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “Olympic participation is no longer feasible” with 50 league games postponed up to December 23.

“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 December 23 – Olympic participation is no longer feasible,” said Bettman in a statement.

Without the NHL’s stars, national teams at the Olympics will resemble those that featured at the Pyeongchang Winter Games four years ago, a BBC report said.

With the time difference between South Korea and North America, many of the matches at the 2018 Games were played in the middle of the night for US audiences, and the NHL felt it was not right to put its league on hold for three weeks and allow its players to go to Pyeongchang.

The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin in China on February 4, 2022.

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