The NHL and NHL Players Association have come to a mutual agreement to not participate in the Winter Genocide Games in Beijing starting in February.
According to ESPN NHL reporter Greg Wyshinski:
The NHL and NHLPA had negotiated Olympic participation in 2022 and 2026 into the newest collective bargaining agreement after NHL players did not participate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The only caveat for the Beijing Olympics, scheduled for February 2022, was if the current NHL regular season was ‘materially impacted’ by COVID-19 postponements. As of Dec. 21, the NHL has postponed 50 games because of outbreaks on teams and has paused its season through Christmas, apparently meeting that threshold.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby expressed disappointment at the news that NHL players wouldn’t be able to compete in Beijing.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of two [Olympics],” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “I definitely feel for the guys who have missed numerous opportunities. It’s not something where it’s the next year or you push it a couple of months. These are experiences of a lifetime that you don’t get very many of as an athlete.”
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 06: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins waits for a face off against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena on December 06, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Hopefully, Crosby and other NHL stars can find consolation in the fact that they will not be participating in a competition hosted by a murderous regime that imprisons and enslaves thousands upon thousands of people. China has for years, imprisoned enormous numbers of Uyghur Muslims, a minority group within China, and forced them to perform slave labor.
Tibetan and Uyghur activists wear masks during a protest against Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in front of the Olympics Museum in Lausanne on June 23, 2021 as some 200 participants took part to the protest. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Numerous human rights organizations around the world have brought enormous pressure specifically on Western nations to boycott the Games, to no avail.
“The Olympic rosters will now be filled by a combination of amateur players and professionals playing in leagues outside of the NHL,” Wyshinski writes. “That could include North American minor leagues and overseas professional leagues like Russia’s KHL. This was the setup for teams in the Pyeongchang Olympics, where the Olympic Athletes from Russia won gold.”