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NHL not close on decision about 2022 Beijing Games

AFP-JIJI

The NHL is “nowhere near a resolution” on whether or not players will compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but the league is looking at preseason games in China next year, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

The NHL opted not to shut down in 2018 and allow players on its teams to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but Daly says he knows how important the Winter Games will be for China.

“There’s no doubt the Olympics are a critical element of the growth of ice hockey in China and the exposure to the people of China for the game of hockey,” Daly said. “Whether that complicates our decision — every Olympic decision is a different one.”

Daly said the NHL hopes to announce 2020 preseason games in China soon after not sending clubs there this year following China preseason contests in 2017 and 2018.

“We hope to be in a position to announce the games earlier than we have in prior years, coming up in the next couple of months,” Daly said. “Hopefully we continue to develop and deepen our ties in China, and that means more games, more players, more teams, more league activities in China.”

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin visited China this month as an NHL ambassador to promote the sport.

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