Speaking Wednesday during the NHL’s European Player Media Tour, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF are “moving full steam ahead” and “continuing to have regular meetings” regarding the return of the World Cup of Hockey tournament in February of 2024.
And, as reported earlier this year, more concrete details about the tournament are beginning to emerge from Daly and the aforementioned planning sessions. According to Daly, the NHL and NHLPA are in the process of narrowing down host cities for the tournament, including select European cities for preliminary and qualification games.
We still want to play one pool in Europe, a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round pool in North America and move the semifinals and the final to a different city in North America likely. I think that short list would universally encompass more traditional hockey markets.
The tournament is expected to take place over a 17-day period in February, including a day on the front and back end of gameplay for travel purposes. Considering the in-season nature of the tournament, there will be little in terms of practice time for the assembled national teams.
Daly also revealed that there are ongoing discussions about expanding the tournament field from eight teams to 10, although any qualification stage to narrow down the field back to eight would take place during the tournament given the compressed schedule.
Of obvious note is the potential participation of Russia in this tournament, which Daly said is still uncertain.
This would be the first best-on-best hockey tournament of its kind since the last time the World Cup was held in 2016. The last Winter Olympics to feature NHL talent was the 2014 edition in Sochi, Russia. All in all, it would be the fourth edition of the World Cup, as it was previously held in 1996 and 2004.