World ice hockey, at least at the national team level, is confidently heading towards a sad conclusion. It is obvious that there will be no tournaments with the participation of all the strongest national teams in the coming years.
“It’s really difficult right now.”
NHL Players Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Marty Walsh stated what was previously known from sources – Russian hockey players will not take part in the 2025 international tournament.
“There is a serious problem,” Walsh told the Daily Faceoff. “There are other federations that do not allow their players to play in the tournament with the Russians. All this needs to be taken into account… I will support my guys. This is a really difficult situation. It is complex, and at the same time very sad. It’s a terrible situation when you try to separate sports from what’s going on in the world, and right now it’s really difficult.”
The tournament that Marty Walsh is talking about was supposed to be called the “World Cup”, but apparently it won’t get that name.
A long time ago, in the 70s…
The World Cup traces its history back to the Canada Cup, which was first held in 1976. The main feature of this tournament was that among its organizers was the NHL Players Association, and professionals could participate in it with virtually no restrictions.
In 1996, the tournament was held for the first time in the World Cup format. However, the competition never became regular – since then the World Cup has been held only in 2004 and 2016.
There are many reasons for the irregularity. One of the main ones is that since 1998, professionals began to participate in the Winter Olympics without restrictions, so this hockey tournament has become the most prestigious. True, Olympic tournaments constantly led to squabbles regarding the distribution of rights and responsibilities between the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF.
There haven’t been any top competitions for many years
These contradictions led to NHL players not appearing at the 2018 Olympics and then at the 2022 games, although in the latter case the coronavirus pandemic was cited as the main reason.
Whatever one may say, a paradoxical situation has developed – competitions at the national team level with the participation of all the strongest have not been held since 2016, and not everyone considers that “World Cup” to be representative enough either.
The NHL planned to hold the World Cup, but politics intervened. Russian hockey players are playing calmly in the league, but they did not dare to give the go-ahead for their participation in the tournament in the national team format in the NHL. The World Cup was postponed to 2024, then to 2025, and now it has been announced that the Russians will not be there anyway.
But that is not all. Walsh explained that there is no agreement with the IIHF, and only the NHL and NHLPA will organize the tournament.
After the rain, in 2026
And now, pay attention to the composition of the World Cup participants: USA, Canada, Finland, Sweden.
We must pay tribute to the league bosses: they are not trying to call this meeting the “World Cup”, so they are planning to simply hold a national team tournament, the name of which has not yet been determined.
Surprisingly, in addition to Russia, the dulya was shown to the Czech Republic, whose hockey legend Dominic Hasek especially zealously demanded sanctions for the Russians. There is no need to talk about Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany at all.
The head of the NHLPA also spoke about the prospects for the 2026 Olympics: “I am of the opinion that the world in 2026 will be different. But we don’t know what will happen. There is a high probability that nothing will change.”
In other words, Walsh has no idea what’s going to happen. So far, the IOC and the IIHF have not reached an agreement regarding the tournament at the 2026 Olympics. And this means that there is a considerable probability that all the strongest will not be gathered there either.
“Corporate party” for your friends
The NHL is now saying that a tournament called the World Cup could take place… in 2028 or later.
But there is one “but” – will anyone be interested in him then?
In the absence of serious tournaments with the participation of the Russian national team, the domestic public is increasingly focusing on the KHL. For North Americans, the regular season and the Stanley Cup have always been above all else.
And if tournaments are postponed further and further, it may happen that they will no longer be expected.
The Canadian-American-Swedish-Finnish “corporate party” of 2025 is a kind of “Channel One Cup” in the NHL version. In less than a month in St. Petersburg, it will also be played for four people – Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and China will take part.
World hockey is a much more fragile structure than football. By abandoning Russia here, and at the same time Belarus, the functionaries who submitted to the politicians launched a mechanism of self-destruction.
Hockey will remain where it is loved – both in Canada and in Russia. As for the Cups and World Championships, then, apparently, it’s not fate.
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
You can visit the original source at the link below.
Original Source Link