The 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto has come with a lot of news to sift through. Trades like Sean Monahan going to Winnipeg, Elias Lindholm to Vancouver, and even Todd McClellan being fired by the Los Angeles Kings. Now the NHL is making the right steps in International Hockey. They want the number one headline about the return of best on best international hockey. The NHL, NHL Players Association, IIHF, and IOC took a positive step in growing the sport of hockey globally. Let’s break down the upcoming competitions.
4 Nations Face-Off
The next event is the 4 Nations Face-Off in Canada and the United States next year. Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States will play a round-robin style and one-game tournament final. Gary Bettman calls it an “appetizer” to future Olympic and World Cup of Hockey events.
This is the first international competition with full NHL participation since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Teams will be comprised of 20 skaters and 3 goaltenders. The first six players for each team will be announced in the summer. With the remainder of the team picked later in the year.
Winter Olympics: NHL Is Making The Right Steps In International Hockey
After next year’s 4 Nations Face-Off, the next event will be NHL players returning to the Winter Olympics in 2026. Taking place in Milan, Italy, it will feature the 6th time that NHL Players will participate and the 1st time since 2014 in Sochi. Players like McDavid, Matthews, David Pastrnak, and Leon Draisaitl will represent their countries on the world’s biggest stage for the first time.
It was also announced that the players will also be involved in the 2030 Olympic Games. The hockey tournament and skating will take place in Nice, France according to multiple sources.
These announcements have come after months and years of negotiations to bring the best-on-best hockey back to the international stage. After no agreement was found between there was no NHL participation at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. In 2022, COVID-19 disruptions caused the league to pull out of the Beijing games. There has been a long time coming for the NHL to bring their players back to the world stage
Starting next year hockey fans will likely have the 4 Nations face-off alongside the Winter Olympics, World Cup of Hockey, and All-Star game to fill February on the sports calendar. This is at least the first of many right steps to building up these superstars. Representing your country to many is considered the highest honour now these top athletes will have that chance. We can’t give the league too much credit yet but it is moving in the right direction.