NHL players will participate in the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday afternoon.
Bettman confirmed this information as part of the festivities surrounding the NHL All-Star Game weekend in Toronto, which means players will be able to participate in the Olympic tournament in Milan and Cortina, Italy, in 2026. The International Committee Olympic Games has still not selected the host city for the 2030 Olympic Games.
“We recognize how important this is for the players,” Bettman said during a press conference. On the owners’ side, everyone thought it was the right thing to do. It was really about doing something because the players really wanted it. ”
“We did it,” added the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Luc Tardif. It is [le résultat] two years of work which has intensified over the last six months. ”
The Milan Games will be a first opportunity for a generation of stars to take part in the Olympics. Canadians Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, as well as Americans Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Adam Fox could be there.
Hockey fans could see McDavid, Connor Bedard and Sidney Crosby playing together on the Canadian team.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) congratulates the IIHF, the NHL and the Players’ Association on bringing the best men’s players in the world back to the world’s most important winter sports stage in 2026 and 2030,” responded the COC . We are thrilled that fans will once again be able to see the best of men’s Olympic hockey and look forward to welcoming NHL players back to Team Canada. ”
The league participated in the Olympics five times between 1998 and 2014 – it was the last tournament bringing together the best hockey players in the world – before absenting itself from the competition in 2018 for financial reasons.
The NHL was scheduled to participate in the men’s tournament again at the Beijing Olympics in 2022, but withdrew due to health restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For years, players have seized the opportunity to compete for Olympic gold,” said Players’ Association CEO Marty Walsh. We are delighted that today’s announcement makes this a certainty for our members for the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympic Games.”
The international calendar will also include a new tournament bringing together four countries — Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland — in 2025.
The Four Nations Tournament will take place for the first time in February. Four cities — one from each country — will subsequently be designated to host the matches.
The league held its last World Cup in 2016. A team of the best North American players aged 23 or younger and a European team were involved.