The 2022 Olympic Winter Games are coming quickly, and there is no definitive answer yet on whether the NHL will participate. That could be changing soon, as hockey insider Frank Seravalli reports that the league has received a verbal commitment from the IOC to fund travel and insurance, one of the biggest sticking points in previous negotiations. Seravalli notes there is still a lot of work to be done, including negotiating whether the NHL will be allowed to use game footage and other promotional material, something the Olympic committee has long been against.
Progress is progress, though, and it will be welcome news to hockey fans all over the world. Best-on-best hockey always creates a memorable event, whether at the Olympics or World Cup, and the lack of NHL participation in the 2018 Games robbed some of a chance to compete for their country. Players like Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid, who are now five and six years into their NHL careers, still haven’t had a chance to represent their nations on the Olympic stage.
The 2022 Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 4, 2022, meaning there would need to be a stoppage to the NHL schedule while the league’s best go to Beijing. In 2014, the last time the NHL participated, Canada took home the gold in a 3-0 win over Sweden. The U.S. finished off the podium entirely, downed in the bronze medal game by tournament MVP Teemu Selanne of Finland.
In 2018, without the NHL involved, the Olympic Athletes from Russia took home gold, defeating Germany in the gold medal match. That Russian team included several former NHL talents like Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, along with several names who would make their debuts in the coming years, like Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin and Kirill Kaprizov.