NHL agrees to release players for Olympics

·1-min read

The National Hockey League has agreed to allow a break in the 2021-22 regular season that will allow the world's top players to take part in next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing.

NHL players missed the last edition of the Winter Games in South Korea in 2018 after the league failed to negotiate a regular season break with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

The league, unhappy over the prospect of interrupting a regular season to send their most valuable assets overseas where they could get hurt, ended a run of five consecutive Winter Olympics when it decided not to allow its players to go to Pyeongchang in 2018.

That decision by the NHL came despite clear signs from several of the world's best players that they wanted to go.

The agreement to release players for Beijing came after months of negotiations, the NHL said, adding that the agreement allowed for the possibility of withdrawal in the event that evolving COVID-19 conditions were deemed unsafe or impractical.

The Russian Olympic Committee team are the reigning Olympic champions having won gold at the 2018 Games with a 4-3 victory over Germany in the final.

The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4 while preliminary round play of the men's ice hockey tournament starts on February 9.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting