(NEXSTAR) – Men’s hockey at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games went without NHL players, and it will be four years later.
“You know, I think everyone was looking forward to this,” said Kyle Connor, a Winnipeg Jets forward. “We made that a big part of our collective agreement as players to try to bring back the Olympics.”
And for a while, that was the plan.
The NHL did not send players to Pyeongchang for financial reasons, having sent players to the previous five Olympic Games, starting in Nagano in 1998. In September, a joint agreement was reached between the NHL, the Association of NHL players and the International Ice Hockey Federation. send players to Beijing.
At the end of December, there was a new agreement: a withdrawal from the Olympic Games due to COVID-19.
“You grow up dreaming of winning a Stanley Cup. I managed to accomplish that, ”said Steven Stamkos, a Tampa Bay Lightning forward. “And then you grow up representing your country at the Olympics and winning a gold medal. And that’s something I probably won’t have a chance to do now.
The NHL has scheduled a hiatus from its regular season in February, a hiatus designed to accommodate both All-Star Weekend and the Olympics. It will now be used to reschedule matches that have been postponed due to COVID-19.
“It’s just a tough situation for everyone, isn’t it?” You are delighted to have the chance to represent your country, ”said Patrick Kane, a Chicago Blackhawks forward who had previously been named to the US Olympic team.
“I felt like I would have had the chance to be a leader this year, so it would have been fun playing with a lot of young players, great players in the league.”