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Report: NHL Players Could Be Returning To Olympic Hockey In 2022, 2026

BOSTON (CBS) -- The 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games provided some of the most dramatic and memorable hockey moments the world has ever seen. In 2018, with NHL players not allowed to participate and with games taking place at odd hours, North America was simply not captivated by the men's hockey tournament.

The NHL apparently is willing to admit that this wasn't great for the players or the sport, because the new CBA that's currently in the works will reportedly allow players to participate in the next two Olympic Games.

Pierre Lebrun reported that development on Wednesday, noting that the agreement is not yet complete.

The 2022 Olympic Games are set to be held in Beijing, while the 2026 Games will be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy.

NHL players participated in the Olympics in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. In 2014 in Sochi, T.J. Oshie famously scored on four of his six shootout attempts in a U.S.A. win over Russia, though Canada eventually won the tournament. In 2010, the U.S. and Canada played to overtime in the gold medal game, with Sidney Crosby scoring the game-winning goal past Ryan Miller to win gold for Canada.

In 2018, the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" won the gold medal in men's ice hockey, as Russia was technically banned from the Games due to a doping scandal. Ratings for that gold medal game were reportedly down roughly 40 percent from the same game in 2014, though a late-night time slot in 2018 certainly contributed to that drop as well.

Many players expressed frustration and disappointment at the lost opportunity to represent their home countries in 2018, and there will be no way to make up for that loss. However, at least some of those players will get that chance again in just two short years.

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