The National Hockey League has reached an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation to create a break in the 2021-2022 season to allow players to compete in the next Winter Olympics.
The NHL and its players’ association said Friday that the agreement allows for the possibility of a later decision to withdraw in the event that COVID-19 conditions are deemed impractical or unsafe for the players.
“We understand how passionately NHL players feel about representing and competing for their countries. We are very pleased that we were able to conclude arrangements that will allow them to resume best on best competition on the Olympic stage,” wrote NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement.
The Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in Beijing, China, from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, 2022.
This marks a return to the Winter Olympics since the NHL skipped the 2018 games.
Russia took home the gold in men’s hockey at the last Winter Olympics, which was held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The U.S. claimed gold for women’s hockey.