Adam Fox New York Rangers
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Inevitable removal of NHL players from the tournament has apparently arrived.

On Tuesday, various reports are indicating the NHL and NHLPA have finally arrived at the formal decision for players to not participate in the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

This decision comes in the wake of the NHL shutting down for four days before Christmas because COVID is wreaking havoc on the league. More than 50 games have been postponed already this season and two-thirds of the league’s teams have players currently in protocol.

The agreement between the NHL and the IOC gave the league until Jan. 10 to withdraw without financial penalty.

The official statement from the league and players is expected to come by Wednesday.

NHL players did not participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in  Pyeongchang, South Korea. However, when the CBA was extended the players fought for the inclusion of Olympic participation in 2022 and 2026.

Unfortunately, COVID’s continued impact on the league made this not only a necessary decision, but the right one for all involved parties.

Sadly, losing these Olympics may cost one of the greatest generations of Olympic players a last chance at playing in the Games one last time. Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, TJ Oshie and others are on the wrong side of 30 and may not make the roster again in four years.

The NHL All-Star Game is still scheduled for Feb. 5.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.