NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday that the Winter Olympics previously have been "incredibly disruptive" to the league and he doesn't anticipate NHL players participating in the 2022 Games in Beijing. Speaking in a panel discussion at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, Bettman spoke at length about the league's decision to prohibit NHL players from competing in the Olympics for the first time since 1994. He also said he's asked the International Olympic Committee about the possibility of moving ice hockey to the Summer Olympics, so NHL players can compete during the league's offseason. "We'd be happy to go in the summer. I'm sure the players would be thrilled to go in the summer," said Bettman, who has been the NHL's commissioner since 1993. "The middle of the season, where we disappear from the face of the Earth, is incredibly disruptive, nonproductive for our season." The NHL announced last spring that it would not permit its players to participate in the Olympics, changing course after five consecutive Olympic cycles of participation. The league cited scheduling issues and injury risk as among the reasons for its decision. NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus told Sports Illustrated earlier this week that its hockey ratings had declined without NHL players participating, estimating the percentage drop at "roughly in the high 20s or low 30s." He also claimed that NHL ratings had declined in all but two local markets during the Olympics.
Gary Bettman doesn't believe NHL players will go to 2022 Beijing Games
USA Today | Feb 23