Tension Between Canada And China Could Derail The NHL’s Plan To Participate In The 2022 Beijing Olympics

There are strained relations between Canada and China and the US and China.

The National Hockey League has two 2021-22 schedules. One should the league reach a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation to send players to the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Two if a deal is not done and that would allow the season to take place without a break. Of course, COVID-19 variants could play havoc with the league’s plans in 2021-22. But there could be another complication that could upend National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, National Hockey League Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr and the International Ice Hockey Federation. Canada’s relationship with China has been strained for a number of years. Recently a court in China rejected the appeal of Canadian Robert Schellenberg against a death sentence imposed for drug-smuggling. That caught the attention of Canada’s Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole who said, “we are approaching a point where it won’t be safe for Canadians, including Olympic athletes, to travel to China.” China arrested businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig on spying charges. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is particularly unhappy with an 11-year prison term given to Spavor.

Canadian politicians are not the only leader suggesting that their country skip the Beijing Olympics. Former United States Vice President Mike Pence sounding like a 2024 Presidential candidate and is demanding the International Olympic Committee find another country to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Pence called on Joe Biden to act. “President Biden should make a clear and unequivocal demand that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved from Beijing unless China comes clean on the origins of COVID-19 and immediately ends persecution of the Uyghur people. The Olympics should only take place in countries that respect fundamental human rights and the wellbeing of mankind.” Bettman and Fehr want NHL players to compete in Beijing because they feel it will broaden hockey’s business.

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