After not participating at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, it appears that the NHL will allow players to play at the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
According to Pierre LeBrun, the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement being negotiated by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association would see the league participate in the next two Olympic Games.
If the NHL/NHLPA finalize things, if the players ratify it, and subject to negotiation with IOC, sounds like proposed CBA extension includes the NHL’s return to Olympic participation covering both 2022 and 2026. Which is 👌
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2020
LeBrun also added that this agreement would still be subject to negotiation with the International Olympic Committee. There are issues that the NHL and the IOC need to hammer out. Most importantly is who pays to insure the players. Back in 2014, it cost the IOC $7 million to bring NHL players to Sochi.
There are other issues involved for the NHL, like whether or not the league is allowed to use footage from the Games in their own promotional hockey content and how long the disruption of the season would be, but the insurance issue was the major sticking point that ultimately led to the NHL not going to Pyeongchang.
So while negotiations between the NHL and IOC represent a hurdle along the way, having player participation in the Olympics being a part of the CBA is a big step forward.
Team Canada’s 2022 team would be much different than the one we saw dominate its way to a Gold Medal back in Sochi in 2014. It’ll also be our first chance to see Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby play together, which is incredibly exciting.