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Sources - NHL looks to put on four-nation tournament in 2025 - ESPN

The NHL's international hockey tournament scheduled for February 2025 will be scaled back to just four national teams, sources confirmed to ESPN.

The proposed event would feature national teams from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland.

The NHL and NHLPA have been attempting to stage the next World Cup of Hockey tournament since it was revived in 2016 as a preseason event in Toronto. Sources said that due to its limited scope the 2025 event would be called something other than the World Cup of Hockey, and that the mission for both the NHL and the NHLPA was to simply stage some kind of international tournament ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics.

«We're hopeful to have an international tournament in February 2025,» NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in Sweden last week. «We're working with the players' association on the construct of that. Then, after that, we would like to be in a regular rotation between the Olympics and the World Cup every other year. That obviously involves us having an agreement to go to Milan [in 2026], and that is still a work in progress.»

The next attempt at a World Cup of Hockey is expected in 2028, as the NHL envisions having a World Cup every four years and in between Winter Olympic tournaments.

«I think at minimum, there are three factors that have impacted our ability to nail something down,» NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last week in Sweden. «One was COVID. Two was the change in executive directors in the players' association. And three is the political climate in the world in terms of the way some counties are interacting with others.»

In particular, the NHL has struggled with how to incorporate Russian-born players into an international tournament, given the hockey world's backlash