BOSTON (CBS) — Charlie McAvoy was looking forward to having his first Olympic experience in Beijing in February. That will no longer happen though, as the NHL has pulled out of the 2022 Winter Olympics because COVID-19 is causing some major headaches up and down the league.

With NHL postponements up to 50 because of COVID-19 wreaking havoc on a number of rosters, that Olympic break is now going to be used to reschedule games. The decision to back out of the Olympics has left those who were set to represent their country pretty disappointed.

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You can put McAvoy in that camp, as the Bruins defenseman opened up about the NHL’s decision during a Thursday Zoom session.

“Disappointment, for sure. Definitely a little bit of sadness,” McAvoy said of his emotions. “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,” he said of playing in the Olympics. “So, it’s disappointing. That’s really the only way to describe it. But given the circumstances, it kind of just is what it is.”

McAvoy said that in chatting with his Boston teammates, it was unanimous that those who were set to participate would have went to Beijing if given the opportunity.

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“I honestly think that it was unanimous that every single guy was going to go if given the opportunity. I think the thought of going to an Olympic Games, it’s something that everyone dreams of, the opportunity to represent your country,” he said. “I think that as far as it stood with our players, the opportunity to see a dream come true was worth it.”

It’s even more frustrating for McAvoy’s Bruins teammate David Pastrnak, who has now had two Olympic opportunities taken away from him. Pastrnak was a lock to play for the Czech team in 2018, only to have the NHL block players from going to the games in South Korea. He is hoping to have another shot to hit the Olympic ice four years from now.

“I’m obviously frustrated, sad,” said Pastrnak. “It’s just tough. I know that for European players, growing up as a kid, that’s your dream. It’s very sad that this is technically the second Olympics in a row that you’re missing as a player.

“I’m fortunate that I still have hope,” Pastrnak added. “I really hope that one day I will participate in the Olympics.”

McAvoy did say he’d still be watching the Olympics — when the Bruins aren’t cramming makeup games into an already busy schedule.

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“Its a spectacle, every four years. The thought of being a part of that, all the hype and excitement around the game — it stinks,” he said. “Hopefully in 2026 I’ll get another opportunity and COVID is no longer in the picture.”

CBSBoston.com Staff