The World Cup of Hockey will not happen in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the popular tournament is dead in the water.
That is the message from both the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association late Wednesday.
Both entities released statements stating each party’s agreement that a World Cup of Hockey in 2020 would be unrealistic to schedule.
“The players are focused on finding the proper time to schedule the World Cup of Hockey within the context of an overall international hockey calendar,” a statement from the NHLPA read. “While we and the league have discussed the possibility of holding the next World Cup in September 2020, we jointly concluded that it is unrealistic to expect that preparations for the vent would be completed in that time.”
The NHL’s statement said that both parties held constructive meetings in Toronto on Wednesday.
The NHL’s statement echoed that of the NHLPA and say both parties “plan to continue their dialogue with the hope of being able to schedules the next World Cup event as part of a broader agreement, which would include a long-term international event calendar.”
[Related: NHL and NHLPA meet to discuss CBA, World Cup of Hockey]
Looming large over all of this is the current collective bargaining agreement, which is in place until 2022 unless one side elects to terminate it. That early window to opt out of the current arrangement opens on Sept. 1, 2019, for the NHL and Sept. 15, 2019, for the NHLPA.
The thought is that, if the World Cup in 2020 had gone forward, it would have signified some semblance of peace between the NHL and the NHLPA in terms of labor talks. The fear here, then, is that both sides aren’t close enough to an agreement.
The flip side is that the World Cup is a massive event that would take much planning and coordinating to get sorted in a year-and-a-half.
For now, it seems like both sides are looking in the same direction, together. That’s a positive sign as no one wants lost hockey in any form. Delaying the World Cup is worth it if harmony (and a new CBA) sans a work stoppage is the end result.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck