NHL players to participate in 2026 and 2030 Olympics, league announces Four Nations Face-Off for 2025
By Cam Lewis24 days ago
Friday marked a big day for international hockey.
The NHL formally announced that its players would be allowed to participate in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Games and the league also announced plans for an international tournament during the 2024-25 All-Star break.
“The international composition of National Hockey League rosters is unparalleled, and NHL players take great pride in representing their countries,” league commissioner Gary Bettman said during an All-Star Weekend media availability in Toronto on Friday. “We are pleased that today, after intense collaborative efforts with the NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, we can formally announce that NHL players will participate in both the 2026 and 2030 Olympic hockey tournaments.”
NHL players participated in the 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 Olympics, but weren’t permitted to play at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang because of a dispute between the league and the International Olympic Committee over who would cover costs, such as insurance and travel.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement signed between the NHL and the Players’ Association ahead of the bubble playoffs in the summer of 2020 stipulated that players would be allowed to play in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics. The NHL and NHLPA wound up agreeing to pull out of the 2022 Games in Beijing because of China’s COVID-19 guidelines.
The 2026 Olympic Games are being held in Milan, Italy, while there hasn’t yet been a host announced for the event in 2030.
Since the NHL hasn’t been at the Olympics since 2014, the next Games will be the first opportunity for many star players to play on the world’s biggest best-on-best stage, such as Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. It’ll also finally give fans an opportunity to see McDavid and Sidney Crosby play on a team together for the first time.
The NHL will also debut a brand-new international event next season, the Four Nations Face-Off. Rather than having an All-Star Weekend, the league will host a four-team tournament between Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, 2025, with players representing Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the United States.
Teams will be comprised exclusively of NHL players, and there’ll be a four-game round-robin before the top two teams meet in a winner-take-all final. The round-robin will feature international hockey’s point system, with three points for a win in regulation.
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