NHL to participate in 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has announced at a joint press conference with IIHF president Luc Tardif and NHLPA director Marty Walsh that the league will participate in the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics.
#NHL commissioner Gary Bettman formally announces, with #NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and #IIHF president Luc Tardif, that NHL players will participate in 2026 and 2030 Olympics. pic.twitter.com/y1A8OKbUrX— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 2, 2024
“This decision represents a turning point for Ice Hockey at the global level and marks the great return of the NHL Players to the Olympic Games. The IIHF was able to gather all related stakeholders at the same table to find a long-lasting and sustainable consensus, which is the backbone of what we intend to do as Sports Organizations. As prime hockey fans, the IIHF is obviously thrilled and excited about this unprecedented agreement, we are already looking forward to witnessing the Best of Ice Hockey at these upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Milano and in 2030," Tardif said in the IIHF's press release.
The NHL last participated in the Winter Games at the 2014 Olympics in Turin, Italy, with Canada taking home gold.
There was, of course, an agreement in place for the NHL to send its players to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, but they withdrew at the last minute, citing concerns about player safety in the wake of rising Covid cases across the NHL.
The 2026 Olympics will take place in Milan, Italy, and while some skepticism is always warranted as it regards the NHL's desire to actually take part, my colleague Ryan Lambert made a good point in the EP Rinkside 3 Stars about the fact that the NHL's current CBA expires that same year, which may force the league to hold to its word.
Lord knows, the players have been clear about their desire to return to the Olympics. And I don't think there's a hockey fan in all the world who isn't excited by the prospect either.