NHL eyeing 2025 best-on-best tournament, set international play schedule
The NHL and NHLPA continue to work towards creating an international best-on-best tournament that would be played in February of 2025, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Wednesday.
The two sides abandoned plans in November for a World Cup of Hockey in Feb. 2024 due to issues around Russian and Belarussian participation, setting 2025 as their new target.
Daly told NHL.com the 2025 event would not necessarily follow the World Cup of Hockey layout, but would set the stage for a regular schedule of best-on-best play moving forward.
"So, if we do a '25 international tournament, we do the '26 Olympics, the '28 World Cup of Hockey, the '30 Olympics, the '32 World Cup of Hockey, and so on," Daly said. "That's the goal."
Daly noted that concerns surrounding the eligibility of Russia and Belarus, along with their athletes, continue to linger over any potential event hosted by the league.
"We have had a fairly recent meeting with the IIHF and the IOC which we talked about Olympic participation in 2026 and as part of that what the World Cup would look like on a regular basis," Daly said. "We continue to be challenged by the short-term political realities, what's going on in Russia and Ukraine and what kind of role can Russia play both in an international tournament that we may sponsor or in the Olympic games.
"That continues to be an unknown that we're all trying to navigate around and through and that certainly affects the World Cup property."
The World Cup of Hockey was last held in 2016 and, for the first time, had a team North America, made up of Canadian and American players under the age of 23, and a Team Europe with players from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Team Canada defeated Team Europe 2-0 in a best-of-three series to claim the title. The tournament was the last time many NHL stars represented their countries as the league elected not send players to 2018 and 2022 Olympics.
There have been three previous World Cup of Hockey tournaments, with Toronto playing host in 2016 and 2004, and Montreal and Philadelphia sharing hosting duties in 1996. Canada won each of the previous two events, while the United States won the debut tournament in 1996.