By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The NHL and the league’s players’ union have agreed not to participate in February’s Winter Olympics in China because of COVID concerns.

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The Associated Press confirmed the news Tuesday just before 6 p.m.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, ESPN.com cited multiple sources in reporting the same, saying that “the only caveat for (skipping) the Beijing Olympics, scheduled for February 2022, was if the current NHL regular season was ‘materially impacted’ by COVID-19 postponement.”

In recent days, the NHL has canceled several dozen games, including two home dates at PPG Paints Arena, where the Penguins were scheduled to play New Jersey on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Thursday. COVID breakouts in several NHL clubhouses have forced the league to shut down all team activities until Dec. 27.

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The NHL released this statement on Wednesday morning confirming that their players would not participate.

“Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events… Olympic participation is no longer feasible,” it said, in part.

Pens’ coach Mike Sullivan was scheduled to coach Team USA and superstar Sidney Crosby was going to represent Team Canada.

Now, the NHL could use that Feb. 6-22 Olympics window to make up some of this week’s postponements. The NHL All-Star Game is still on schedule for Feb. 5 in Las Vegas.

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Following the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea that NHL players also skipped, the NHLPA wrote into the most recent collective bargaining agreement that its players could compete in the 2022 and 2026 Games.