It was likely that several members of the Boston Bruins would represent their home country in the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February. But due to COVID-19 and a potential five-week quarantine in China should someone test positive, the NHL decided to not send its players.
David Pastrnak already was a lock to play for Czech Republic, with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy likely to be selected for Team Canada and Team USA, respectively.
For McAvoy, while he understands the decision, it doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
“Disappointment, for sure. Definitely a little bit of sadness,” McAvoy said over Zoom on Thursday when asked how he felt about the decision. “I think it’s something that, if given the opportunity, I was absolutely going to go. I really think I was going to enjoy every second of it. I’ve dreamed of that for a long time. So, disappointing. That’s really the only way to describe it. But given the circumstances, it kind of just is what it is.
“Everybody on the Bruins, all of our teammates that I think had anticipated going or planning on having that chance, I think everybody’s pretty saddened by it. I think it was unanimous, we all really wanted to go.”
Pastrnak echoed McAvoy’s sentiments, calling it “tough.”
“I’m obviously frustrated, sad,” Pastrnak said. “It’s just tough. I’ve said many times, I know that for European players, growing up as a kid, that’s your dream, to make it. It’s very sad that this is technically the second Olympics in a row that you’re missing as a player.
“It’s obviously nobody?s fault. I don’t blame anybody. It’s just the world we’re living in. It’s really unfortunate because the Olympics don’t happen every single year. It’s really frustrating and sad, but at the same time I understand the situation we are in, and the whole world is. … So it’s really sad, but I’m fortunate that I still have hope, and I really hope that one day I will participate in the Olympics.”
For young players like McAvoy, 24, and Pastrnak, 25, they’ll likely get another chance to wear their country’s jersey. But when it comes to Marchand, 33, and Patrice Bergeron, 36, this may have been their last chance.
“It definitely crossed my mind. I was thinking about him,” Pastrnak when asked about Marchand. “Who would?ve thought five, 10 years ago he would’ve never had a chance? Obviously he’s in a different situation playing for Canada, where there are so many great talents and a lot of players to choose from.”
Now the focus shifts back to the regular season, getting healthy and getting back to game action.
The Bruins are set to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 27 at TD Garden.