There hasn’t been a World Cup of Hockey since 2004 but it sounds like its return won’t be too far off.
Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport in Russia (link in Russian) spoke with Vladislav Tretiak who says the World Cup will make its return in August and September of 2016. If this sounds like news out of the blue, it’s not.
As Dan Rosen of NHL.com reported, the NHL is close to approving a new transfer agreement with the IIHF. Part of that agreement is re-starting the World Cup series. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke about that happening to Rosen.
“We talked about the World Cup and that is included in the terms of our Player Transfer Agreement and the [anticipation] that we will cooperate on something like the World Cup of Hockey,” Daly said. “It’s obviously something we have been talking about with the [NHL] Players’ Association, and I think we have a conceptual understanding with them that we should be in a position to play in World Cups and announce them soon.”
The World Cup of Hockey has only occurred twice in 1996 and 2004. Team USA took home the title in ’96 while Team Canada won it in ’04. The World Cup was the successor to the old Canada Cup which ran from the mid-1970s til the early-90s.
The NHL’s participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics is nearly complete.
The IIHF announced today they’re even more optimistic about the NHL participating in the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly sounds all the more positive about seeing it happen as Szymon Szemberg of IIHF.com reports.
“We are proceeding under the assumption that the NHL will participate in Sochi,” Daly said. “We are still working on important issues with the IIHF and the IOC, and subject to our board of governors’ consideration and approval, it remains the objective that Sochi will be the fifth consecutive Olympics with NHL participation and where the NHL shuts down for the duration of the Olympic tournament.”
Ever since the lockout ended, there have been doubts about whether or not the NHL would go to Sochi but Daly’s words today make that seem all the more likely the pros will be back in the Olympics. As talks have progressed it’s been made to seem more likely each time that the issues present would be resolved. This is just another step in that direction.
To pile onto this, Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reports the Executive Director of the Russian Hockey Federation says the NHL will announce their participation in the Olympics once the World Championships are over. The gold medal game for Worlds is May 19.
Now that the NHL and NHLPA have put the labor stuff behind them for the next 8-10 years, they’ve got a new project to tackle.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports the two sides are discussing realignment once again and this time they’re going to make sure everyone’s on the same page. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly tells Brooks they are working on a realignment plan for next season but nothing has been approved or finalized by the Board of Governors.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr hopes the union’s fears over extended travel for some teams as well as competitive balance worries can be allayed by being kept abreast of what the NHL wants to do.
“We expect to talk with the league on the subject this week,” Fehr said. “A year ago, when we raised the issue of increased travel for teams, the league did not have mock schedules for us to review that might have alleviated our concern.”
After going through a labor war, getting realignment figured out should be a relative walk in the park. If the league wants to stick to their “four conferences” plan and a return to divisional playoffs, however, the competitive balance issue will be tough to wrangle with 30 teams. It wouldn’t be a shock to see expansion discussed to alleviate that issue.