Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner said he will not play for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics, citing mental health.
“I’m very disappointed and it tough decision for me as it’s once in life time opportunity,” was tweeted from Lehner’s account after a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday. “Reality is that what have been said about how it’s going to be is not ideal for my mental health. Took long time to make decision with my psychiatrist and family. My well being have too come first and being locked down and not knowing what happens if you test positive is to much of a risk for me. Sweden will have a great team and Markström is a beast.Hope people understand.”
Lehner, 30, is a longtime mental health advocate who has been open about his bipolar disorder and his own struggles off the ice.
He is one of two Swedish goalies who have played more than 10 games this NHL season. Jacob Markström of the Flames is the other and now the overwhelming favorite to start for Sweden at the Winter Games.
Former NHLer Viktor Fasth was Sweden’s No. 1 goalie at the 2018 Olympics, where the nation lost in the quarterfinals in a tournament without NHL players. Fasth since retired, as has Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden’s No. 1 at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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