The NHL is heading back to the Olympics.
Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday during the league’s all-star festivities that its players will be allowed to compete at the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina, Italy, and at the 2030 Games, which is currently without a host city.
The NHL went to the Games five times between 1998 and 2014 — the last best-on-best men’s tournament — before skipping the 2018 event for what it said was financial reasons.
The league was set to return to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, but backed out because of COVID-19 concerns.
Get the latest National news.
Sent to your email, every day.
“We know how important international competition is to our players,” said Bettman.
“We made it,” IIHF president Luc Tardif added. “That’s two years work and more intense the last six months.”
The upcoming international calendar is also expected to include a four-nation tournament involving the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland next year.
The league last held a World Cup in 2016. That event featured an under-23 Team North America and Team Europe made up of small hockey powers.
“For years, the players have embraced the opportunity to compete for Olympic gold,” NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said. “We are excited that today’s announcement makes it a certainty for our members in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games.”
— More to come…
© 2024 The Canadian Press