The International Ice Hockey Federation Council has announced that it will not be supporting any player from the National Hockey League, (NHL), at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. They cited their cooperation agreement as an important reason.

Luc Tardif (President IIHF) rescinded the suggestion of allowing players to participate, as it would not respect the agreement made with the NHL and IIHF, NHL Players Association (NHLPA), and the International Olympic Committee(IOC).

Tardif said that cooperation among the IIHF, NHL and NHLPA is crucial to the success and growth of ice hockey around the world.

“Any action by any stakeholder that jeopardizes our cooperation will not be tolerated.”

“The IIHF has decided not to consent to NHL players participating at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, since it was determined by the NHLPA last month that they were not allowed to do so in direct violation of their NHL playing agreement. 

“Respecting player contracts forms a fundamental principle within the IIHF International transfer Regulations.”

Sidney Crosby was one of the Canadians initially selected for Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images
Sidney Crosby was one of the Canadians initially selected for Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

Initially, the NHL permitted players to travel from the United States to China for the Games. But this permission has been withdrawn by the NHL due to the COVID-19 epidemic’s disruption to its season.

Tardif continued by saying that the goal was to ensure NHL players participated at the Milan Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026.

Tardif stated that while we are deeply sorry not to be able to bring back best on-best ice hockey for the Winter Olympics, there had been positive work between the IIHF and NHL, NHLPA and IOC to reach an accord that would have allowed the players to compete at Beijing.

“Ultimately, the COVID-19 issues that continue to severely affect both IIHF tournaments as well as the NHL regular season schedule were too much to overcome. However, we will continue with organizing the Beijing 2022 event and will continue working with the NHLPA and the NHL in good faith to ensure NHL players participation in the 2026 Olympic Games. 

“It remains the IIHF’s goal to secure NHL players participation and best-on-best at the Olympics for all teams in the future.”

Before the NHL reversed their decision, stars like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid from Canada were ready to travel.

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is scheduled for February 4-20, 2022