After years of waiting, we’ll finally see a best-on-best hockey tournament in February 2025.
There’s a catch, though.
The NHL and NHLPA are aiming to host an event ahead of the 2026 Olympics, where NHL players are set to partake for the first time since 2014.
Due to the diluted talent pool, however, the proposed tournament would not be called the World Cup of Hockey. One league source reportedly explained that there isn’t enough time to orchestrate the logistics of a larger-scale tournament.
"We're hopeful to have an international tournament in February 2025," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters in Sweden last week. "We're working with the players' association on the construct of that. Then, after that, we would like to be in a regular rotation between the Olympics and the World Cup every other year. That obviously involves us having an agreement to go to Milan [in 2026], and that is still a work in progress."
The last time there was a best-on-best tournament was when the World Cup of Hockey took place in 2016. Since then, the NHL and NHLPA haven’t been able to replicate the event due to various issues. The next opportunity for a World Cup of Hockey would be in 2028, based on Daly’s timeline.
"I think at minimum, there are three factors that have impacted our ability to nail something down," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in Sweden. "One was COVID. Two was the change in executive directors in the players' association. And three is the political climate in the world in terms of the way some countries are interacting with others."
The proposed four-nations cup isn’t really a best-on-best tournament, as it’d exclude all Russians and players like David Pastrnak (Czech Republic), Leon Draisaitl (Germany), Moritz Seider (Germany), Kevin Fiala (Switzerland) and Roman Josi (Switzerland).
“We might get there over time," Bettman added. "We may have to evolve into a more inclusive World Cup,”