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NHL, NHLPA officially agree to pros playing in 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympics will feature professional hockey players. This is the first time since 2014.

The Emblem of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is installed at Shijingshan district on August 1, 2021 in Beijing, China. Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The worst kept secret in hockey is no longer a secret. The NHL and NHLPA announced on Friday that they have agreed to a deal that will allow players to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This will mark the first Olympics NHL players have participated in since the 2014 Sochi Games.

The league announcer the 2021-22 regular season schedule back in July, but left a space for a potential Olympic break in February. With this agreement, the league will now break from February 3-22. The break opens with the NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, and then continues with the Olympics, which culminates in the gold medal game on February 20.

The league and players’ association reached an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation to make this happen. However, it includes language for the possibility of a later decision to withdraw from the Olympics if COVID-19 creates impractical or unsafe conditions.