NHL schedule to pause in February for Winter Olympics, but participation not yet certain: reportBen Popeon July 19, 2021 at 8:37 pm

The NHL has yet to guarantee its players will be able to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, but its schedule will nonetheless reportedly include a break for the Olympics.

The 2021-22 NHL regular-season schedule — which will be announced Thursday — will pause between Feb. 5-22 to align with the men’s ice hockey tournament schedule in Beijing, ESPN reported Monday.

But the NHL is still negotiating issues and logistics with the International Olympic Committee and hasn’t reached a definitive agreement on NHL participation, which was assured to the NHL Players Association in the Collective Bargaining Agreement extension signed last summer.

Last month, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly cast that presumed Olympic participation into doubt with skeptical comments during a Stanley Cup Final press conference.

“We have real concerns about whether or not it’s sensible to be participating,” Bettman said. “We’re already past the time that we hoped this would be resolved. We’ll deal with it…but we’re getting to be on a rather short time frame now because this can’t go on indefinitely.”

“We agreed [with the NHLPA that] if the conditions were right and we could reach an agreement on all the material issues, we would commit and support going to the Olympics,” Daly said. “That remains our position.”

NHL players were not allowed to participate in 2018 but did participate in five consecutive Winter Olympics before that. The NHL has also not yet announced dates for its 2022 All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

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