The National Hockey League (NHL) would try to organize a World Cup that would not really be a World Cup, as fewer countries could participate and Russia would have to be excluded.
There have been numerous discussions between the NHL and the Players Association in recent days and the goal of holding an international tournament in February 2025 is very realistic. However, according to hockey representative Marty Walsh, Russia may continue to eat its brown bread.
He told the Daily Faceoff podcast “Frankly Speaking” that Russia “probably” won’t have a place in this competition. Several countries reportedly intend to boycott such a tournament if President Vladimir Putin’s nation takes part, due to the invasion of Ukraine.
“I represent everyone,” said Walsh, who will have to talk to Russian NHL players. I will support them. It’s a very complicated situation. It’s complicated, but at the same time very unfortunate. It’s a terrible situation, you’re trying to separate sport from what’s going on in the world and it’s complex.”
The director of the Players Association confirmed that the Bettman circuit will not apply to the IIHF, and therefore only NHL athletes can participate. Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland, the four world hockey powers, would be the chosen countries.
“The timeline we want for the World Cup is about the same as the (IIHF) for the World Cup. They also have obligations to honor,” Walsh explained.
The World Hockey Championship was last held in 2016. At that time, teams from Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, as well as delegations for the rest of Europe and for 23 and under North America competed.