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NHL, NHLPA inching closer to World Cup announcement

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy
AP
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AP

LOS ANGELES — Last October, it appeared as if the return of the World Cup of Hockey would be slated for late summer 2015. The NHL has talked about creating some sort of international calendar, but according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, those plans may be pushed back for a year.

Sources told LeBrun Wednesday that the World Cup is likely to return in 2016, potentially going head-to-head with the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Toronto is expected to play host to the tournament.

Hours before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils New York Rangers, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during his state of the league address that while discussions continue, the league is not ready to make any announcement at this time.

“We’re not ready,” Bettman said. “It’s not something that’s fully baked. As you know, World Cups and international competitions are something we do jointly with the Players’ Association. And while we’re having very substantive discussions about what the possiblities are and what a World Cup might look like and how it should be done and whether we’re looking at a series of World Cups is something that we’re not yet in a position where we’re comfortable making any announcements.”

Bettman added that the international calendar wouldn’t include only a World Cup and potentially the Olympics every two years, but also a mix of exhibition and regular season games.

“We don’t necessarily view the World Cup as a one-off, which is why these discussions are as elaborate as they are,” he said.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly basically said a World Cup tournament is coming, it’s just a matter of the league and players working out the logistics. And a World Cup announcement can be made while the league and players sort out the Olympic issue. 

On the topic of the NHL’s participation in international competition, the league and PA have yet to decide whether they will send players to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. That topic is currently not on the high priority list at the moment, according to Bettman.

“We haven’t had any substantive discussions about any future Olympic participation and that is something we’re ultimately going to have to resolve.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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