The International Ice Hockey Federation has had a tough few months. Several tournaments were postponed, including the U20 World Junior Championship. It was only four days after it started. Worldwide hockey fans were eagerly awaiting the 2022 Winter Olympics, where the best players in the game would face each other. On December 22, the NHL withdrew from the Olympic Games, bringing bad news to the IIHF.
“The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament,” NHL Gary Bettman, Commissioner, stated in a statement. “Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
“We certainly acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation, and the Beijing Organizing Committee to host NHL players, but current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone’s best efforts. We look forward to Olympic participation in 2026.”
While losing the NHL’s star power for the second straight Olympic games, it doesn’t mean this year’s tournament will lack storylines. It will feature a mix of future and familiar faces heading to Beijing, China. Ex-players from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are examples. head coach Claude JulienCanada’s team leader will be Czechia. Czechia’s roster includes two former Stanley Cup winnersDavid Krejci & Michael Frolik.
This year’s tournament features 12 countries split into three groups of four, with group play set to begin on Feb. 9.
Canadiens fans have reason to watch the Olympics with Sean Farrell
Flyers’ Prospect Noah Cates Primed for Olympics with Team USA
Kings Prospect Brock Faber invited to Team USA for the 2022 Olympics
Sabres’ Owen Power to Represent Canada at 2022 Winter Olympics
9 Canucks Who Could Make the Olympic Team
China is pleased to host the Winter Games
Thanks to the NHL, the game of ice hockey in China has grown over the years. In 2017, the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and Vancouver Canucks played in Shanghai and Beijing. The Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and the Calgary Flames were also on the trip to Shenzhen and Beijing the next year.
China has been a member since 1963 of the IIHF. For decades, the sport is very popular in the north. Participation in the 2022 Olympics has seen more rinks open across the country. Although it is devastating to lose the NHL players, the interest in the sport remains high.
China’s women’s team has qualified twice for the Olympics in 1998 and 2010. Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete in this year’s tournament. This will be the first appearance for the men’s team.
China will be joined by 11 other teams, who will compete for the gold medal. The host country will compete in Group A alongside Canada, Germany and the United States. Group B will feature Russia (ROC), Czechia. Denmark, and Switzerland. Finland, Latvia, Slovakia and Sweden will battle it out in Group C. The top four teams will earn a bye into round 4.
Russia, the reigning gold-medal winners, enters the tournament beating the German upstart 4-3 in overtime. Four years ago, Canada defeated Czechia in a bronze medal match. Russia’s Nikita Gusev led all players with eight assists and 12 rebounds at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Ilya Kuvalchuk of Russia and Kirill Kaprizov from Minnesota, who are both Minnesota Wild stars, tied him with Ryan Donato (USA) for the most goals scored in the tournament, with five. Jonas Hiller, an Anaheim Ducks former netminder, was the winner with a 1.14 goals versus average (GAA), as well as a.956 save percentage for Switzerland.
Kovalchuk was awarded the Most Valuable Player 2018 award for his seven goals and five points. Danny aus den Birken, GER, was named Best Goaltender. Vyacheslav Voynov won Best Defenseman honors. Gusev was awarded Best Forward.
2022 Men’s Olympic Hockey Schedule
Wednesday, Feb. 9
Russia vs Switzerland – 3:40 AM EST
Czechia vs Denmark – 8:10 AM EST
Sweden vs Latvia – 11:10 PM EST
Thursday, Feb. 10
Finland vs Slovakia – 3:40 AM EST
United States vs China – 7:10 AM EST
Canada vs Germany – 7:10 AM EST
Denmark vs Russia – 11:10 PM EST
Friday, Feb. 11
Czechia vs Switzerland – 3:40 AM EST
Sweden vs Slovakia – 3:40 AM EST
Latvia vs Finland – 8:10 AM EST
Canada vs United States – 11:10 PM EST
Saturday, Feb. 12
Germany vs China – 3:40 AM EST
Russia vs Czechia – 8:10 AM EST
Switzerland vs Denmark – 8:10 AM EST
Slovakia vs Latvia – 11:10 PM EST
Sunday, Feb. 13
Finland vs Sweden – 3:40 AM EST
China vs Canada – 8:10 AM EST
United States vs Germany – 8:10 AM EST
Monday, Feb. 14
Qualifying Playoff Game 1 – 11:10 PM EST
Qualifying Playoff Game 2 – 11:10 PM EST
Tuesday, Feb. 15
Qualifying Playoff Game 3 – 3:40 AM EST
Qualifying Playoff Game 4 – 8:10 AM EST
Quarterfinals Game 1 – 11:10 PM EST
Wednesday, Feb. 16
Quarterfinals Game 2 – 1:00 AM EST
Quarterfinals Game 3 – 3:40 AM EST
Quarterfinals Game 4 – 7:30 AM EST
Thursday, Feb. 17
Semifinals Game 1 – 11:10 PM EST
Friday, Feb. 18
Semifinals Game 2 – 8:10 AM EST
Saturday, Feb. 19
Bronze Medal Game – 8:10 AM EST
Gold Medal Game – 11:10 PM EST
Greg Boysen has been writing about Chicago Blackhawks hockey since 2010. He has also been a site manager at FanSided as well as SB Nation. He was fully credentialed and published in The Hockey News. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting Multiple YouTube showsBlackhawks Banter. While he is credentialed by the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs and Milwaukee Admirals, he also acts as a regional scout with the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. Follow Greg on for interview requests and topic suggestions TwitterReach out.