Not everyone was unhappy to hear the NHL pulled out of the Beijing Olympics. For China's Olympic Team it was welcome news. China would no longer have to play other countries' teams stocked with NHL All-star players.1 Before the NHL pullout, there was some concern that the Chinese hockey team, ranked 32nd in the world, would not be sufficiently competitive to be allowed into the competition. Eventually, China was given a spot in the Olympics.
The U.S. and other countries had to scramble to put together their Olympic hockey squads. The roster for the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team was not announced until January 13th. They will not have their first practice until February 3rd in Beijing. Their first game is on February 10th against China.
China, on the other hand, has the bulk of their squad selected from Kunlun Red Star, a China-based team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The Kunlun players practice and play together continuously. China's chance seem much better now, but they're are still considered an underdog. China's Olympic Ice Hockey roster was announced today. As speculated earlier, American-born Jeremy Smith will be the goaltender for China.
Russia now appears to be the gold medal favorite. Covid's impact on the Olympic Hockey tournament has been huge. It should be quite a tournament.
When they take the ice, the U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Teams will be sporting new uniforms announced in late November. Jerseys and hoodies will feature a horizontal band with a field of stars around the entirety of the garments with “USA” written within it in white with red trim.
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1 Steve Keating. (23 January 2022). Ice hockey-Fans lose but China boosted by NHL Beijing pull out. https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/ice-hockey-fans-lose-china-boosted-by-nhl-beijing-pull-out-2022-01-24/