NHL proposes “World Cup of Hockey”

Serena Anagbe / Photo Editor
Hockey fans have mixed reactions to the new idea

International hockey hasn’t seen a best-on-best men’s hockey tournament in almost a decade, but that may be changing next year. 

Not since the last World Cup of Hockey in 2016 has there been a men’s hockey tournament where the world’s top-ranked hockey players faced off against each other. Every year, many international hockey tournaments take place.  

This includes the World Junior Championships, a U-20 men’s tournament, the Women’s World Hockey Championships featuring the top women’s hockey players from around the world and the Men’s World Hockey Championships featuring most of the world’s top men’s hockey players.  

The only problem with the men’s Worlds Championships is that it takes place during the month of May, which lands at the same time as the NHL play-offs. This means that many players would have to miss the tournament. 

On top of this, the NHL’s decision to not participate in the 2018 or 2022 Winter Olympics has resulted in no best-on-best men’s hockey tournament since that 2016 World Cup. 

All that may be set to change, however, as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed an idea for a four-team international tournament during the 2024-25 NHL season.  

“We want to have, starting if possible in ’25, an in-season international tournament, which wouldn’t be the World Cup but it would be a preview of international best-on-best, with the goal being in 2028 to unveil a full World Cup,” Bettman said to reporters at a Seattle Board of Governors meeting in December. 

While some fans are excited to see the potential tournament, many are upset due to the inclusion of just four competing nations, those being Canada, the U.S.A., Sweden and Finland.  

“I like that they are trying to bring back the World Cup. This little tournament will be a stepping stone to getting the world’s best players to play each other,” said Spencer McDowell, a Wilfrid Laurier University criminology and Sussex University law alumni who is a Canadian hockey fan.  

“[However], personally I think it would be a waste to only have four teams participate. They should not consider it a ‘World Cup’ if there are only four teams because that does not represent all the countries that have great hockey teams,” said McDowell regarding the lack of teams included in the proposed tournament. 

Regardless, Bettman’s proposed idea has gained mixed reviews from fans, mainly due to many top hockey nations such as Czechia, Germany and Slovakia being left out of this tournament. 

With the tournament supposedly taking place in early 2025, more information is set to come from Gary Bettman and the NHL. 

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