by Dan Adkisson
The NHL and its players union announced that the World Cup of Hockey, initially scheduled for February 2024, would not be possible. It was also revealed that plans to hold the event in February 2025 remained in place.
This latest development is disheartening for hockey fans since it pushes back one of the best international tournaments by at least a year.
The NHL and NHLPA have worked hard to make the World Cup the premier international tournament, primarily since NHL players did not compete in the previous two Winter Olympics. The last time NHL players participated in Olympics was in Sochi, Russia.
The major stumbling block with the Olympics has been the League’s unwillingness to postpone its season by two weeks, mainly when the Olympics have occurred in time zones that would not be ideal for live TV coverage.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey was held as a preseason competition before the 2016-17 NHL season. That was the last time NHL players competed in a complete international tournament featuring the League’s top talents.
This latest development is disheartening for hockey fans since it pushes back a best-on-best international tournament by at least a year. As a result, the NHL and NHLPA have stated that holding the tournament next year is “unrealistic in the current environment,” but they are hoping it will return in February 2024.
NHL will have to act as a substitute
Naturally, there will have been a number of hockey fans that will have been feeling disappointed with the fact that the World Cup has had to be postponed and pushed back once again.
Indeed, fans continually crave for the best ice hockey possible, but with the NHL continuing to be a better product with each season that passes, fans will no doubt be treated to the top action that they desire.
It could also be suggested that the announcement of the tournament’s pending comeback may help to generate more interest, especially from sports betting backgrounds.
Punters continually seek the best available betting opportunities and the NHL will undoubtedly provide these to them. Indeed, bettors will be able to take advantage of competitive NHL odds when they utilize the best sportsbooks, which can help to enhance the overall experience and put the World Cup behind them for the time being.
History of the World Cup of Hockey
The first World Cup of Hockey was held in 1996, and the next in 2004 during the NHL lockout.
The Canada Cup, the forerunner to the World Cup of Hockey, was played five times between 1976 and 1991 and each time featured six of the best hockey-playing nations in the world. Canada won the Canada Cup four times, while the Soviet Union won it once in 1981.
The World Cup of Hockey began to tremendous fanfare in 1996, owing partly to the anticipation of a Canada-versus-US final. Team USA won a three-game series contested in Philadelphia and Montreal.
Canada defeated Finland in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey final, and the concept was put on hold for the next 12 years.
The format was altered after the tournament returned in 2016. It still had eight teams, as in 1996 and 2004, but two were unique mash-ups. The world’s greatest players have had few opportunities to compete internationally in recent years.
NHL players were not allowed to compete in the 2018 or 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving just the IIHF World Championship, which frequently needs to draw the best of the best. In the future, the NHL will consider conducting the qualifying tournament near the conclusion of the previous summer, which would cause less disruption to the NHL season.
Future NHL Action
The competition’s cancellation has left the fans disappointed, but there are still many other hockey tournaments scheduled. The best international players were supposed to play for their home countries in the 2024 World Cup of Hockey. However, this is a great opportunity for fans to switch to NHL action and watch some of the best players in the league. While the current season is already in progress, there is still plenty of hockey to look forward to over the next twelve months. This includes the NHL All-Star Game, as well as the postseason and the Stanley Cup Finals, which should take place around June.
Although the 2024 World Cup of Hockey has been canceled, there is still plenty of competitive NHL action for fans who were excited to watch their favorite players play for their nations instead, thus ensuring the very best ice hockey has to offer can still be experienced.