The International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, representatives of the NHL and the NHLPA announced the return of NHL players to the Olympics on Friday evening! The last time they played at this big tournament was ten years ago in Sochi.
The agreement applies to the Winter Games in 2026 and 2030. In two years, the Olympics will be held in Milan, Italy, the venue of the next tournament is not yet known, but France is the main favorite to host it.
“After working closely with the NHLPA and the International Ice Hockey Federation, we are pleased to officially announce that NHL players will participate in the next two Olympic tournaments,” said NHL General Secretary Gary Bettman.
“The return of players from the NHL to the Olympic tournament is a turning point for hockey. We managed to negotiate a long-term and sustainable consensus. We are excited about it! We are already looking forward to seeing the best hockey at the next two Olympic Games,” added IIHF President Luc Tardiff.
“Fans all over the world have long been calling for a meeting of the best hockey players under the five rings. Now they will finally be able to see their favorite players representing their countries together,” added Marty Walsh, head of the NHLPA players’ association.
So far, five rings have been played only five times. For the first time, the world’s best hockey players played in Nagano, where the Czech national team won gold. Subsequently, they presented themselves at major events in Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver and the aforementioned Sochi.
At the same time, the NHL confirmed that the event will be held without Czech players. It will feature NHL players from Canada, the USA, Finland and Sweden, will be called the Four Nations Tournament, and will replace the traditional All-Star Game in February next year.
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