BEIJING, CHINA – The NHL has been dealing with several outbreaks of COVID-19 recently.

So much so that the league was forced to hit the ‘pause’ button on its season last week.

It also hit the ‘stop’ button on the Olympics.

NewsChannel 34’s Andrew Marden has the story in this week’s ‘Journey to Beijing.’

MEN’S HOCKEY AT THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS TOOK PLACE WITHOUT NHL PLAYERS.

THAT WILL ONCE AGAIN BE THE CASE FOUR YEARS LATER.

{{KYLE CONNOR}} “You know, I think everybody was looking forward to this. We made this a big part of our collective bargaining agreement as players to try to bring the Olympics back.”

AND FOR AWHILE THAT WAS THE PLAN.

THE NHL DID NOT SEND PLAYERS TO PYEONGCHANG FOR FINANCIAL REASONS.

AFTER SENDING PLAYERS TO THE PREVIOUS FIVE OLYMPICS, BEGINNING IN NAGANO IN 1998.

IN SEPTEMBER, A JOINT AGREEMENT WAS REACHED BETWEEN THE NHL, THE N-H-L PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION TO SEND PLAYERS TO BEIJING.

LAST WEEK, THERE WAS A NEW AGREEMENT.

A WITHDRAWAL FROM THE OLYMPICS DUE TO COVID-19.

{{STEVEN STAMKOS}} “You grow up dreaming of winning a Stanley Cup. I’ve been able to accomplish that. And then you grow up representing your country at the Olympics and winning a gold medal. And that’s something that I probably won’t have a chance to do now.”

THE NHL SCHEDULED A BREAK IN ITS REGULAR SEASON IN FEBRUARY.

IT WAS TO ACCOMODATE BOTH ALL-STAR WEEKEND AND THE OLYMPICS.

IT WILL NOW BE USED TO RESCHEDULE GAMES THAT HAVE BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19.

{{PATRICK KANE}} “It’s just a tough situation for everybody, right? You’re excited to get the chance to represent your country.”

FOR PATRICK KANE, HE HAD ALREADY BEEN NAMED TO THE U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM.

“Felt like I would have had a chance to be in a leadership role this year, so it would have been fun to play with a lot of younger players, some great players around the league.”

ON THE JOURNEY TO BEIJING, I’M ANDREW MARDEN.

Without NHL players, countries will now fill their Olympic rosters with players from minor league teams, college teams and teams in Europe.