As the process of hammering out a new NHL collective bargaining agreement slowly unfolds, the future of international hockey appears to be the “big hurdle,” according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
In a couple weeks, that hurdle will be addressed head on.
On Hockey Night in Canada, Johnston noted that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, IIHF president René Fasel and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will all be in Stockholm, Sweden for the NHL’s Global Series games between the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That will provide a chance to further the conversation of the NHL’s involvement in the Olympics, as well as other international play.
“I believe as the CBA talks have gone along, the big hurdle remains what happens with the Olympics, where does that leave the World Cup (of Hockey) and how does this international calendar unfold?” Johnston said. “Even though there hasn’t been a lot going on of late, there’s a chance here in the next two weeks for things to pick up.”
NHL players were allowed to participate in the Olympics from 1998-2014, but kept out of the 2018 games (the next opportunity is in Beijing in 2022). The World Cup of Hockey has had a choppier existence, with iterations in 1996, 2004 and 2016.