NHLers are returning to the Olympics after missing the last two winter games

NHL players are scheduled to return for the next two Olympics.

League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday over the weekend in Toronto that the NHL has entered into an agreement with the Players Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, paving the way for stars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews to compete in Italy in 2026 and in the following Winter Games in 2030.

“We know how important international competition is to our players. We know how much they love and want to represent the countries they’re from, and we think this is a great stage for the best of the best in what we all clearly believe in. The best sport,” said Bettman.

NHLers last competed in the Olympics in Sochi 2014, where Team Canada won the gold medal. The 2026 Games will be held in Italy, while France is expected to be chosen to host the 2030 Games later this year.

“We know that hockey fans around the world have long been anticipating the next best-of-the-best international competition, and now they can finally see some of their favorite players representing their countries and lining up together,” said Marty Walsh, NHLPA Executive Director.

The league was scheduled to return to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, but it was canceled due to fears of the Corona virus.

The upcoming international calendar is also expected to include a four-nation tournament including the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland next year.

The last time the NHL hosted a World Cup was in 2016. The event featured the North American Under-23 team and Team Europe, made up of minor hockey powers.

Now, it appears that major international competition will return by 2026.

“We have achieved this,” FIFA President Luc Tardif said. “This is two years’ work and more intense in the last six months.”

More is coming.

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