National Hockey League decides against competing in Beijing due to COVID-19: report

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Toronto: The National Hockey League will not send its players to compete in the men’s ice hockey tournament at the Beijing Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns as the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads globally, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

The NHL agreed last September to pause its regular season so the world’s top players could compete in Beijing with the caveat it could withdraw if COVID-19 disruptions forced games to be rescheduled during the Olympics window.

Medical personnel in protective suits watch the China Ice Sports College hockey team practise on Wednesday in a test event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.Credit:AP

That had begun looking increasingly likely in recent days with the NHL being forced to postpone a slew of games in Canada and the United States after a growing number of players entered COVID-19 protocols while Omicron tore through professional sports leagues with fully vaccinated players testing positive.

The NHL had until January 10 to withdraw from the February 4-20 Beijing Olympics without financial penalty.


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