The NHL has decided not to send its players to compete in the Beijing Olympics due to the new variant and a global rise in infections. The league announced last September that it would press pause on its regular season so as to allow the world’s top men’s ice hockey players to compete in Beijing.
The decision would have been seen coming with the NHL being pushed to postpone 50 games in the US and Canada resulting from a growing number of players testing positive. While the league did not immediately respond to requests for a comment from the press, a formal announcement regarding Beijing is expected soon.
The league had leeway until January 10 to withdraw from the Games without the risk of a financial penalty.
While most players had been looking forward to competing on the biggest international stage in the world of sports, players have reportedly grown increasingly concerned over the prospect of testing positive while in China. Such an event would lead to at least 21 days in quarantine.
According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who commented on the issue of Beijing and rising infections in early December, the decision about competing in China would ultimately be left to the players themselves. He did however add that the league itself had experienced “magnified” concerns created by the recent outbreak of infections.
On Tuesday night, the game scheduled between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals became the 50th NHL game delayed by infections this season.
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