IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

NHL players will not compete in 2022 Beijing Olympics due to COVID-19 surge

It "is no longer feasible” for the world's best hockey players to go to China, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck during a game on Nov. 24, 2021 in Glendale, Ariz.Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

The recent world spike in Covid-19 prompted the NHL on Wednesday to back out the Beijing Olympics, removing the world's best hockey players from the one of the Games' showcase sports.

The National Hockey League had built in a three-week break from action to send its top players to Beijing, but Covid outbreaks throughout North America have put the sport on hold.

Fifty NHL games have already been postponed through Dec. 23 and Commissioner Gary Bettman said sending players to Beijing "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," Bettman said in a statement. "We look forward to Olympic participation in 2026."

Amateurs and professional players from outside the NHL will likely stock the rosters.

The United States, Canada, Germany, China, the Russian Olympic Committee, Czechia, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia and Latvia are the 12 teams competing for men's hockey gold in Beijing.

This story first appeared on