Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 | 11:40 a.m.
The NHL will have players participating in the Winter Olympics starting with the 2026 games, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said today.
Holding his annual All-Star Weekend news conference in Toronto, Bettman confirmed players will play in 2026 in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and in 2030 at a site to be determined.
It’s the first time NHL players will participate since 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
“The international composition of National Hockey League rosters is unparalleled, and NHL players take great pride in representing their countries,” Bettman said. “We are pleased that today, after intense collaborative efforts with the NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, we can formally announce that NHL players will participate in both the 2026 and 2030 Olympic hockey tournaments.”
The NHL did not participate in the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, because of disputes between the league and the International Olympic Committee over travel costs and insurance. Players were set to take part in 2022 in Beijing, but the NHL backed out due to concerns regarding the pandemic.
“For years, the players have embraced the opportunity to compete for Olympic gold, and we are excited that today’s announcement makes it a certainty for our members in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games,” NHL Players Association Executive Director Marty Walsh said. “We also know that hockey fans worldwide have long been anticipating the next best-on-best international competition, and now they can finally see some of their favorite players represent their countries and line up together.”
In addition, the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced a four-team tournament to take place next February in place of All-Star Weekend.
The NHL 2025 4 Nations Face-Off will feature players from the United States, Canada, Finland and Sweden taking part in a round robin tournament Feb. 12 to 20, 2025.
The tournament will be played under NHL rules; three points will be given for a regulation win, two for an overtime/shootout victory, one for an overtime loss and zero for a regulation loss.
The Golden Knights could be heavily represented over the next couple of years.
Canada, alone, will have a number of options. Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore were part of Team Canada in the 2019 IIHF World Championships. Alex Pietrangelo, who will turn 36 in January 2026, has a gold medal with Canada from 2014.
Jack Eichel participated with Team USA in the World Championships in 2015, 2017 and 2019. He is likely to be selected for his first Olympic team.
William Karlsson could be a potential option for Sweden. The center was a member of Sweden’s 2017 World Championship roster.