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Doric SamAugust 23, 2023

FILE - In this June 22, 2016, file photo, the NHL logo is shown during a press conference in Las Vegas. NHL free agency day began with two rivals helping each other out of a jam by way of a trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round pick and minor leaguers Ben Harpur and Aaron Luchuk from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forward Connor Brown and minor leaguer Michael Carcone. The teams announced the trade early Monday, roughly 3½ hours before the start of free agency. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

AP Photo/John Locher, File

It’s been nearly seven years since the NHL has held a World Cup of Hockey, but it sounds like the international tournament is on the verge of returning.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed at the European Player Media Tour on Wednesday that the league and the NHL Players’ Association are working together to create an international competition to be held in February 2025. The hope is to start a regular rotation of Olympic participation and a World Cup of Hockey in the subsequent even years.

The NHL last held a World Cup of Hockey in 2016. The league has been on hiatus from international play, as NHL players did not participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics or 2022 Beijing Olympics after doing so in the previous five Winter Games. The 2026 Winter Olympics are set to take place in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“So if we do a ’25 international tournament, we do the ’26 Olympics, the ’28 World Cup of Hockey, the ’30 Olympics, the ’32 World Cup of Hockey, and so on,” Daly explained. “That’s the goal.”

Daly also noted that ideas are still being discussed and there’s a chance the international competition in 2025 will look different from previous iterations of the World Cup of Hockey, which were held in 1996, 2004 and 2016.

“I don’t know exactly what form it will take,” Daly said. “The goal is to make it an international competition of some sort. It’s going to obviously be heavily NHL-centric in terms of the player base, maybe entirely NHL. We’ll see what form it takes, but that’s something we’re working on with the Players’ Association.”

A likely hurdle for a World Cup of Hockey is the status of Russian players due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The International Ice Hockey Federation banned players from Russia and Belarus from its competitions since the war began last year.

There is not yet a deadline for a decision on the 2025 international tournament, but Daly noted there is an increased sense of urgency.

“Obviously, the more lead time the better,” he said. “What we’ve said across the table, the various parties, the IIHF, the IOC, the NHLPA and the NHL is, let’s strive to do it as quickly as we can, understanding we’re not in control of every issue we need to be in control of.”

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