PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The NHL is focused on holding another World Cup of Hockey as soon as possible, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday, but the timeline is linked to ongoing discussions the League is having with the NHL Players’ Association.
The NHL last held a World Cup of Hockey in 2016, following a World Cup in 1996 and 2004.
“I think we’re all in agreement that bringing back the World Cup on a regular basis would be a good thing, and that’s something we’re having very serious, specific discussions with the Players’ Association,” Commissioner Bettman said at the conclusion of the Board of Governors meeting.
Commissioner Bettman said the planning for the World Cup would likely not allow for the League to hold one before the end of the 2020-21 season.
“[The World Cup] is too big of an event to do in that short of a time frame,” Commissioner Bettman said.
There is a possibility that the 2021 NHL All-Star Game could take on an international flavor, Commissioner Bettman said, noting the idea remains in the conceptual stage.
Bettman was asked about the possibility of NHL players returning to Olympic participation in 2022, when they will be held in Beijing.
“As you know, the League’s view is it’s disruptive to a season,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We understand the importance to the players, but there are a whole host of things that are unresolved, including who would pay for participation and what rights we get to promote ourselves. So that’s something that isn’t on the same track, in my view, as the World Cup.”
The NHL did not take part in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics but sent players to the five previous Olympics since the NHL was invited for the 1998 Nagano Olympics.