According to a report from Russian hockey insider Aivis Kalnins, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to approve the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey tournaments this week for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. There was some speculation, mostly on the part of International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) president Rene Falsel that the IOC may elect to remove ice hockey from the Olympic program. Even more interestingly, Kalnins reports that both the IOC and the IIHF believe the NHL will attend the 2022 Olympics.
Expect IOC to approve 2022 Winter Olympic Program in coming days. Mens and womens Olympic hockey tournaments will be on the schedule and played as expected despite Rene Fazel’s claims that the cancelation of hockey tournament was amongst options for IIHF and IOC.
Both IOC and IIHF are convinced that the National Hockey League will be willing to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
Of course, the NHL elected NOT to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics to the dismay of hockey fans worldwide. The Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), not to be confused with… you know Russia, defeated Germany in the most anti-climactic Olympic gold medal game since the IOC first allowed NHL participation in the 1998 Winter Olympics.
With any luck, hockey fans will get a chance to see young superstars like Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel rip it up for Team USA, Connor McDavid and a veteran Sidney Crosby star for Team Canada and young Europeans like Rasmus Dahlin, Nico Hischier, Patrik Laine and Leon Draisaitl step up for Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Germany in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Then again... this is the NHL and Gary Bettman that we're talking about. Bettman isn't about to just make a complete turnaround on his Olympic stance without some SERIOUS financial compensation. After all, Bettman's job is to make money for NHL owners and, as of now, there is no financial arrangement between the NHL and the IOC regarding Olympic hockey. So again... we're not holding out breath on any official announcement from the NHL, the IIHF and the IOC concerning a partnership for the 2022 Winter Olympics.