NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman can’t yet commit to the World Cup of Hockey.
"My hope and expectation is that, in the not too distant future, we are in a position to announce that yes we are going to do a World Cup,” he said this week in Toronto.
His counterpart Donald Fehr, however, may have let the cat out of the bag.
According to a report on Hokej.cz, the executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association informed members of the IIHF Congress in Tenerife, Spain, that the World Cup will be held in 2016, between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1.
The six teams he said will take part: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland. There will be two other countries involved; one assumes Slovakia and Switzerland would be in the mix.
There’s no information yet how the tournament will be seeded; possibilities include using the number of NHL players on the rosters and IIHF rankings.
The NHL had indicated previously that the World Cup wouldn't be ready for 2015, but that 2016 was more likely. That would put it in a 2-year cycle that might mean another World Cup in the 2018 Olympic year, with the Winter Games scheduled for PyeongChang. There's no promise that the NHL will participate in the 2018 Games, clearing the way for host South Korea to win hockey gold. Althought probably not. Sorry, Jim Paek.