NHL players are not officially going to the 2022 Olympics yet, but Canada does have its general manager for the Beijing Games.
On Wednesday, Hockey Canada announced the Blues’ Doug Armstrong will serve as the team’s general manager for next February’s tournament.
Armstrong has a long history of working within the management structure of various Canadian international teams. He’s been assistant GM, senior advisor, and GM of world championship teams; GM of their 2016 World Cup winning entry; and was assistant GM for the 2010 and 2014 gold medal winning Olympic squads.
Rounding out Canada’s management group for 2022 will be Ken Holland (associate GM), and Ron Francis, Roberto Luongo, and Don Sweeney (assistant GMs).
“It is an exciting time to be able to introduce the members of Canada’s management group, who each bring a tremendous amount of international and championship experience that will benefit our team if NHL players are able to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics,” said Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney. “Under Doug’s leadership, as well as that of our entire management group, we’re thrilled to task them to lead us into 2022, with the opportunity to oversee our staff and players as they compete for an Olympic gold medal”
Still work to do
The key phrase in Renney’s statement is the word “if.” As part of the new NHL-NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league said it would allow Olympic participation in 2022 if a deal could be made with the IOC and IIHF. One of the roadblocks that prevented players from taking part in Pyeongchang 2018 was the IOC declining to help with transportation and insurance costs, as well as preventing the NHL from using footage from games.
There are a few things working in favor of us all watching best-on-best Olympic hockey a year from now. IIHF president Rene Fasel is desperate for the NHL’s return to the Games. Plus, the league green-lightning participation as long as a deal can be made is encouraging.
2022 Olympic men’s tournament groups
Group A: Canada (1), USA (6), Germany (7), China (12)
Group B: Russia (2), Czech Republic (5), Switzerland (8), Qualifier 3 (11)
Group C: Finland (3), Sweden (4), Qualifier 1 (9), Qualifier 2 (10)
The final three qualifier spots (winner from each group) are still scheduled to be decided in late August.
Group D: Slovakia (host), Belarus, Austria, Poland
Group E: Latvia (host), France, Italy, Hungary
Group F: Norway (host), Denmark, Korea, Slovenia
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.