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NHL schedule to pause in February for Winter Olympics, but participation not yet certain: report

The 2021-22 regular-season schedule will be released Thursday and reportedly will include a break from Feb. 5-22 for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Patrick Kane is likely bound for another Olympic appearance in 2022.
Patrick Kane and other NHL players will have to wait past Thursday to know whether they’ll be able to play in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Martin Rose/Getty Images file photo

The NHL has yet to guarantee its players will be able to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but its schedule reportedly will include a break for the Olympics nonetheless.

The NHL’s 2021-22 regular-season schedule, which will be announced Thursday, will pause Feb. 5-22 to align with the men’s hockey tournament schedule in Beijing, ESPN reported Monday.

But the NHL still is negotiating issues and logistics with the International Olympic Committee and hasn’t reached a definitive agreement on its participation, which was assured to the NHL Players’ Association in the extension of the collective-bargaining agreement signed last summer.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly last month cast that presumed Olympic participation into doubt with skeptical comments at a news conference during the Stanley Cup Final.

‘‘We have real concerns about whether or not it’s sensible to be participating,’’ Bettman said. ‘‘We’re already past the time that we hoped this would be resolved. We’ll deal with it . . . but we’re getting to be on a rather short time frame now because this can’t go on indefinitely.’’

‘‘We agreed [with the NHLPA that] if the conditions were right and we could reach an agreement on all the material issues, we would commit and support going to the Olympics,’’ Daly said. ‘‘That remains our position.’’

NHL players weren’t allowed to participate in 2018 but did participate in five consecutive Winter Olympics before that.

The NHL also hasn’t revealed dates for its 2022 All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.