Report: NHL's 2025 international tourney will include just 4 nations
The NHL's return to international competition will feature only four countries, sources confirmed to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.
The league's next global tourney will include Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States and is scheduled for February 2025, Wyshynski reports.
The proposed format would reportedly see Canada and the U.S. play two games in North America, while Finland and Sweden would face off in Europe. Based on either a points or aggregate goal total, the winner of the matchup would then take on the runner-up from the opposite continent, Wyshynski adds.
The NHL last hosted an international competition in 2016 with the World Cup of Hockey. The event featured six national teams, an under-23 North American squad, and a European side that featured players whose national teams weren't represented at the event.
NHLers haven't participated in a best-on-best tournament since the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The NHL not having an agreement with the IIHF provides a challenge for the league to host a larger-scale tournament. Without IIHF involvement, an NHL-hosted event could only feature the league's players.
"That will be an all-NHL players playing in the tournament because we don't have an agreement with the IIHF right now," NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said last week in Sweden, according to Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli. "The timeline that we want to do the World Cup is roughly the same that (the IIHF) do the Worlds. And they have obligations that they have to live up to as well."
Canada, Finland, Sweden, the U.S., Czechia, and Russia are the only countries with enough NHL-signed players to form a full national roster.
Stars including Germany's Leon Draisaitl, Russia's Nikita Kucherov, Czechia's David Pastrnak, Switzerland's Roman Josi, and numerous others would be left out of the NHL's 2025 tournament.
"Theoretically, that's important," commissioner Gary Bettman said of a more inclusive event, per Wyshynski. "As a practical matter, that may not be realistic. We might get there over time. We may have to evolve into a more inclusive World Cup. It's a work in progress."
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