Beijing 2022: NHL will not send players to Winter Olympics due to concerns over Omicron variant

Beijing 2022: NHL will not send players to Winter Olympics due to concerns over Omicron variant

In a widely-expected announcement, the NHL said the current disruption to the competition in the US and Canada made it "impossible" to commit players for the tournament.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: "The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL players to represent their countries and participate in a 'best on best' tournament.

"Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

"Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL's regular-season schedule caused by recent Covid-related events - 50 games already have been postponed through December 23 - Olympic participation 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 Organising Committee to host NHL players but current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone's best efforts."

The rash of postponements in the NHL have come despite the organisation reporting back in October that all but four players, and all officials, had been vaccinated against the virus.

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