National Hockey League at risk of not participating in Winter Olympic games in Beijing

Antonio "Tony" Macaluso, Staff Writer

It seems for the 2nd time in a row, there’s a good chance that the NHL won’t allow its players to represent there country in the Winter Olympic games.

Over the last several weeks, many players have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list while the newly discovered variant, Omicron, is starting to spread rapidly across the United States and Canada. 

As of Tuesday , Decebber 14th the NHL has had a total of 23 players enter COVID-19 protocol in just 36 hours, per NHL insider Christopher Johnston on Twitter.  Due to this recent outbreak, the NHL has postponed three games in the last week.

Furthermore, members of the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames make up almost half of the players/staff that were placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. In total as of Wednesday, December 15th there are 37 players on the list with 15 of those players being team members/players of either the Flames or Hurricanes. 

Receiving a positive COVID-19 test in China would be a major risk that isn’t worth taking for players

Chinese rule states that any individual who receives a positive test for Coronavirus within China’s borders is mandated to quarantine for up to five weeks. As well as rising COVID-19 cases worldwide, and with the new Omicron variant, sending players to the Olympics may be a risk that isn’t worth taking for the NHL. 

According to reports from and, NHL leading point-scorer Connor McDavid commented on how much of a risk it can be for himself and the rest of the NHL season, “It’s obviously going to be a very fluid situation,” McDavid stated, “There hasn’t been a ton of information come out, and then there’s that three-to-five week {quarantine} thing…it’s kind of been floating around. Just trying to gather all the facts and information. Obviously, it’s unsettling if that were to be the case when you go over there.”


This wouldn’t be the first time the NHL doesn’t send its players to represent their country in the Olympics….

Believe it or not, this wouldn’t be the first time the NHL has refused to send its players to the Winter Olympic games. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea saw no National Hockey League players participating due to conflicts with the NHL’s season schedule. 

The last time the NHL permitted players to travel internationally for the Winter Olympic Games was in 2014, when Canada captured the gold medal in Sochi, Russia. In fact, the NHL never allowed its players to participate in any of the Winter Olympic games up until 1998. Before NHL players participated, it was mainly college level players playing for there country, which could very well be the case this year.  

Due to this uncertainty with the Olympics, the NHL is considering bringing back an event known as the World Cup of Hockey, another international ice hockey event that normally takes place locally in North America, and is chartered by the NHL. Although the World Cup of Hockey has only happened once since 1996 when it officially stopped, there have been reports that the NHL may consider bringing it back again due to the uncertainty of the Winter Olympics, and NHL players would still have the opportunity to play for there respective countries.