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NHL officially withdraws from Beijing Olympics due to COVID surge

NHL Olympic Agreement Hockey
Posted at 8:28 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 11:45:27-05

The National Hockey League officially announced Wednesday that its players would not participate in the Beijing Olympics because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

"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 Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release. "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."

The announcement came after the league postponed 50 games because of positive COVID-19 test results among players.

According to ESPN, the league had until Jan. 10 to pull out of the Olympics without financial penalty.

The league announced Monday it was pausing its season from Wednesday through Saturday.

Bettman added that the league looks forward to participating in the 2026 Olympics in Italy.

The league said they'll use Feb. 6-22 to make up the postponed games.