The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association have made the announcement that the World Cup of Hockey will not be played in February of 2024 – as originally scheduled.
“Over the last year, the NHL and the NHLPA have been working on plans to conduct the next World Cup of Hockey, the premier international best-on-best hockey tournament, in February 2024,” the NHL and NHLPA shared in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, in the current environment it is not feasible to hold the World Cup of Hockey at that time. We continue to plan for the next World Cup of Hockey, hopefully in February 2025.”
Back in August, plans were fully underway for the 2024 event, including the creation of a 17-day break in the NHL schedule, to which the tournament would run.
“We’re moving full steam ahead and that means we’re continuing to have regular meetings,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in August, before also touching on logistics.
“We still want to play one pool in Europe, a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round pool in North America and move the semifinals and the final to a different city in North America likely,” he said. “I think that short list would universally encompass more traditional hockey markets… Longer term, that’s our plan to have a qualification tournament at another time during the calendar. Given the short timeframe we have between now and February 2024, if we have a qualification stage, I think it’s part of the tournament.”
But now, unable to make the event seem as a ‘feasible’ option, Daly and company will look to relaunch for sometime in 2025.
The World Cup of Hockey last occurred in 2016 in Toronto, ON. Previous tournaments include 1996 and 2004. The eight-plus team event would likely follow Daly’s goal of games in both Europe and North America. With the ongoing issues in Russia, another nation may usurp the Russians from the event, while Daly also had previously hinted at two more countries joining for the next tournament, bringing the total number of teams up to 10.
Considering the age of the game’s current greatest superstars and the dismal efforts in working out a partnership with the Winter Olympics, the sooner the better for the NHL and Players’ Association to get its act together on a best-on-best tournament.