What Is The NHL’s Plan For The 2022 Beijing Olympics?

Not deterred by the NBA problem.

The National Hockey League owners and players have a bit less than three years to reach a new collective bargaining agreement but there are some certainties now that the owners and players have kicked the collective bargaining talks can down the road. Seattle will debut in 2021 and the league can schedule more games in Europe in both the pre-season and regular season. Then there is the question of what to do to build hockey interest in China. The NHL and the hockey industry know China is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics and that is a global platform to sell the product and product merchandise. The NHL has no control of what actually happens in the Olympics other than lending players to put on the show. The NHL did not allow its players to participate in the 2018 South Korea Winter Games because, frankly, South Korea is not much of a hockey market and the league didn’t see much upside to sending players to South Korea and shutting down its season for a couple of weeks to accommodate the International Olympic Committee.

In 2017, the NHL did not like what the International Olympic Committee was offering and the players were not interested in reworking the collective bargaining agreement to go to South Korea. But China is a different story. In 2017, the National Hockey League’s staged a pair of pre-season games in Shanghai and Beijing showcasing the product. In a country of more than a billion people, China had just 200 players a few years ago. Now there are 12,000 people are on ice. China wants to be competitive in the 2022 Olympics. China is now entering teams in both the Men’s and Women’s under 20 and under 18 tournaments.  China. That’s a market is far too big and offers too much money for the NHL owners to ignore.