Sunday Territorian

NHL players set for Olympics

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NATIONAL Hockey League stars will take part in next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing under an agreement announced by the league on Saturday.

The NHL said in a statement the league and the NHL Players Associatio­n had brokered a deal with the Internatio­nal Ice Hockey Federation to confirm a February 3-22 break in the 2021-2022 NHL regular season to allow for the Olympics. NHL players were not released for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The Beijing Games will mark the first internatio­nal tournament featuring the world’s best players since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.

“We understand how passionate­ly NHL players feel about representi­ng and competing for their countries,” NHL Deputy Commission­er Bill Daly said.

The deal leaves wiggle room for players to withdraw from Beijing if Covid-19 conditions are deemed to be too risky for players to participat­e.

“Representi­ng their country in the Olympics is important to the players, even in these uncertain times,” NHLPA general counsel Don Zavelo said.

“The players look forward to pulling on their nation’s hockey sweater at the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as they compete for the gold medal.”

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