National Hockey League (NHL) players are all set to make their return in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics after an agreement was finally struck between the league, NHL Players Association (NHLPA), International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), and International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Beijing 2022 will see NHL players participate for the sixth time in the Olympics, having played in every Games from Nagano 1998 through Sochi 2014.
Commenting on the agreement, Billy Daly, NHL deputy commissioner, said, “We understand how passionately NHL Players feel about representing and competing for their countries.
“We are very pleased that we were able to conclude arrangements that will allow them to resume best on best competition on the Olympic stage.”
IIHF President René Fasel said, “I know that I can speak for hockey fans around the world when I say that we absolutely welcome the decision to bring back best-on-best ice hockey to the Olympics.”
He further added, “We had many constructive discussions, and a lot of hard work was put into making this happen within the time we set out for ourselves, and I want to thank all parties involved for their support and commitment.”
However, the agreement is subject to a lot of terms and conditions concerning the coronavirus.
According to the provisions, NHL and NHLPA have the right to cancel participation in the Olympics should the 2021-22 season be disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additionally, all NHL players who participate in the Olympics will be required to have a Covid vaccine, while no insurance is said to be provided for Covid-related illnesses picked up at the Games.
The provisions also state that in case any NHL player misses their league game after Beijing for Covid-related reasons, that player won’t be receiving the match fee.
NHL players will be seen back in action on the Olympic ice after missing the last winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.