President of International Ice Hockey Federation optimistic about NHL players participating in the 2026 Winter Olympics

BEIJING — President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Luc Tardif, said Thursday that he believes NHL players will participate at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan & Cortina. However, he would prefer an agreement to be reached earlier than usual.

The deal was reached between the league, IIHF, NHL Players' Association and IOC for the 2022 Games. It was announced in September. The NHL withdrew from the Olympics in December, after the coronavirus-fueled wave caused by the omicron variation led to mass postponements. This was the second consecutive Olympics that the NHL had not announced.

Tardif indicated that he would be happy to reach an agreement with the league more than a year prior to the 2026 tournament. The Associated Press received an email from Bill Daly, NHL deputy Commissioner. He stated that officials at the league do not expect to reach an agreement on a “relatively expedited basis”.

The NHL has not taken part in the Olympics since 2014. This is an end to a string of five consecutive appearances that began in 1998. Because of disagreements about the cost of travel and insurance, players did not participate in 2018.

Tardif also stated that the men's World Junior Championship and women's Under-18 Tournament will take place this summer after having been canceled in December by the pandemic. Tardif confirmed that Tardif will host the world juniors in August in Canada while the women's tournament for the under-18s in June in America.

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