Why are NHL Players Not in the US Ice Hockey Team for Beijing Winter Olympics 2022?

Published 01/14/2022, 12:30 PM EST


With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics less than a month away, national teams are busy with the selection process. Certainly, Team USA will hope to send a confident bunch to reign supreme in the competitions. However, with covid-19 still an alarming threat, both players and fans are having second thoughts about appearing for the Games. Notably, NHL players may not be present at the Winter Olympics for the same reasons.

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As the pandemic continues to cause havoc, the NHL (National Hockey League) restricted its players from competing for the competition.

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NHL restricts players from taking part at Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

Not only that, they have hired a new general manager and coaching staff to go to Beijing. While the NHL stars get a no-go, players from the NCAA, European leagues, and the Minor league teams would comprise the team heading to Beijing.

Although players from the NHL will not appear, there are other players who have NHL experience, who can come in and put in a shift. The team includes a total number of seven NHL-experienced players, eight players from the European league while another 15 of them are from college hockey.

Sadly, the road to China lacks optimism and vigor. However, this is not the first time that NHL prevented its players from appearing for the national team. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang saw the league not allowing its players to attend that competition as well.

As for this year, only Brian O’Neill will represent the team in Beijing. Having won just two Olympic gold medals in Ice Hockey, the sun is not shining down well on the Americans.

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Young kids to lead the way

Even though NHL’s non-involvement is a glaring problem for Team USA, there is a hidden golden opportunity in their withdrawal. With young players going to play in a major competition, it would provide a boost for the league in a few years. The experience gained from facing powerhouses like Russia and Canada will help their personal growth immensely.

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Notably, there are some promising players on the roster. Michigan forwards Matty Beniers and Brendan Brisson, North Dakota defenseman Jake Sanderson, and Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber are some of the top talents in the team heading to Beijing.

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It might be a blessing in disguise if these players make history in Beijing. Can the US Ice Hockey team win their third gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

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Jacob Gijy

823 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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