NHL awaiting union to sign off on World Cup

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/AP)

With uncertainty surrounding whether or not NHL players will participate in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, talk of a potential World Cup of Hockey is heating up.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league is waiting for the NHL Players’ Association’s approval before the league proceeds with anything.

“It’s something we’ve repeatedly said we’re interested in,” Bettman told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’ve been in discussion with the Players’ Association, which obviously is our partner in this. We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do. We’re waiting for the PA to sign off.”

There have been two World Cup of Hockey tournaments in the past, one in 1996 and one in 2004. A successor to the Canada Cup, the 1996 tournament was won by the United States and took place in nine different cities, while the 2004 tournament ran across seven cities with Canada winning.

Unlike other international hockey tournaments, which are overseen by the International Ice Hockey Federation, the World Cup of Hockey is put together by the NHL.

No final decision has been made, but it sounds as though Bettman isn’t keen on having NHLers in Pyeongchang due to the fact their participation can have an effect on players and teams in his league.

“From the moment we left Sochi, we have not given the Olympics any thought,” Bettman said. “You hear some of the clubs suggesting players are tired and worn out. Particularly, you look at teams that had 10 or nine players. [St. Louis Blues coach] Ken Hitchcock was quoted the other day and said [his team] ran out of gas a little bit and they’re looking to rejuvenate for playoffs. It has an impact with injuries and fatigue.”

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