DENVER– The NHL is “very optimistic” that it will be able to stage a World Cup of Hockey in February of 2024, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s a work in progress,” Daly said. “Obviously, we’ve been engaged with the [NHL] Players’ Association for several months now and we’re very much aligned in what we are trying to accomplish. We’ve now engaged the IIHF in those discussions. It’s become a little more complicated because of the League’s and the clubs’ interests, particularly in a February tournament as opposed to a fall tournament. So those are issues we’re trying to work through.
“But we’re very optimistic that we’ll be able to stage a tournament in 2024, regardless, so we’re looking forward to that.”
NHL players last took part in a World Cup of Hockey in 2016 in Toronto. The tournament was contested by eight teams — Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America — and lasted two weeks. It was won by Team Canada, which defeated Team Europe in two games in the best-of-3 final.
The World Cup of Hockey was also held in 1996, won by the United States, and in 2004, won by Canada.
Daly called it a “priority for us” to stage the tournament in February.
“We’ll see if we need workarounds to get there, but we think it’s very important to the long-term success of this property on a regular basis to be in that time frame,” Daly said.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL would like to plan long-term for the tournament.
“And we’d like to be able to plan more than one so we can actually effectuate the cycle that we’ve been desiring,” the Commissioner said.
Daly also said that the Stanley Cup would not be headed to Russia this summer, given the war with Ukraine.
“We made both clubs aware already with respect to this summer, the Cup isn’t going to Russia or Belarus,” Daly said. “To the extent we may owe a Cup trip in the future, that can happen, just like we’ve done with the pandemic. But it’s not happening this summer.”
The Lightning and Avalanche each have players from Russia, including Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Mikhail Sergachev of Tampa Bay and Valery Nichushkin of Colorado.