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Marchand criticizes NHL's Olympic ruling: It should be our decision

Rich Gagnon / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand isn't pleased with the NHL's decision to opt out of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

"I think guys have worked their entire lives to put themselves in a position to compete at that level and that opportunity. It should be guys' decisions whether they choose to go or not, regardless of what's happening in the world," he said, per Conor Ryan of the Boston Sports Journal. "The Olympics are on and they're playing and the best players in the world should have that option."

Marchand has never suited up for Canada in the Olympics. If NHL players are allowed at the next Winter Games in 2026, he will be 37 years old.

The NHL committed to allowing players to go to the Olympics as part of the new collective bargaining agreement signed in summer 2020. However, in light of the opt-out, Marchand believes the league never wanted its players at the games.

"It almost felt like they were trying to get out of it for a while and they didn't want us to go," he said.

Marchand added: "I know at the end of the day, they don't care about the Olympics, they don't make money on it, and that's ultimately what this is. It's a business and we're an asset. Let's just call a spade a spade."

The league, NHLPA, IIHF, and IOC confirmed players could return to the Olympics in September, but the deal included an opt-out clause that would allow the league to back out if the regular season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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