The National Hockey League is planning on going to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. On Friday, it was announced the NHL had come to an agreement with the National Hockey League’s Players’ Association, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The agreement takes place three years after the NHL decided not to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Still, the fact that the world is in a pandemic, there is no guarantee as of yet that the NHL will actually be competing at the Olympic Winter Games in February.
What coronavirus has all taught us is that you cannot guarantee anything. Coronavirus, remember started in China, and has since killed 4636 people in China alone. There have been 94 982 cases of coronavirus in China and 908 active cases.
There is expected to be stricter coronavirus protocols in place for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games compared to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. It will be interesting to see the reaction of players from the NHL when they arrive in China, which is under the Communist regime.
Having the NHL at the Olympic Games however is simply fantastic. Even though the level of hockey at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang was strong, there was a definite lack of global interest by the fact that the best players in the world were not participating for the first time since the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.
The Olympic Athletes of Russia (known as OAR) enters the 2022 Olympic Winter Games as the reigning Olympic champions. In Pyeongchang, current Minnesota Wild left winger Kirill Kaprizov scored the overtime winner on the power play in the gold medal game to give the Russians a 4-3 win over Germany. It was the first gold medal for Russia at the Olympic Winter Games since the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, when they were known as the Unified Team.