The 2024 World Cup of Hockey will be postponed until February 2025, as confirmed by the NHL in North America and its players association, the NHLPA.
« Over the past year, the NHL and the NHLPA have been working on plans to host the next World Cup of Hockey, the first international hockey tournament among the best, in February 2024, » the two parties said in a joint statement on Friday.
« Unfortunately, in the current context, it is not possible to organize the World Cup of Hockey at this time. »
The tournament is held irregularly and has been enjoyed three times by hockey fans. The United States won the inaugural event in 1996, before Canada took top honors in 2004 and 2016.
The planned 2024 edition is postponed against the backdrop of political issues such as the Russian military operation in Ukraine, which resulted in the banning of Russian teams from several international sports competitions.
Federations such as the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) heeded a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia, and the NHL was unable to confirm whether a Russian team can participate in the World Cup of Hockey.
Despite the sanctions, the NHL is allowing a number of Russian superstars like Alexander Ovechkin and Valeri Nichushkin to continue playing.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly hinted that the Russians may be able to make the World Cup in September, saying: “Certainly we would like that and I think our Russian players would like that. So we would certainly like to welcome them credibly,” as quoted by ESPN.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place over a 17-day period in February 2024, and it was not expected that a Europe team and a North America team would take part.
Instead, ten traditional national teams are called up to play, with two countries knocked out of a qualifying round as eight others vie for the title.
Countries like Canada, United States, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and part of the Russian team are expected to feature in 2025. Other candidates to complete the field are Switzerland, Germany, l Austria and Norway.
The host of the World Cup of Hockey in 2025 has yet to be announced, after the United States and Canada hosted in 1996, before Toronto, Canada only took over in 2004 and 2016.