NHL News: New 2025 International Tournament To Feature Four Teams

The NHL and NHLPA want to bring back a World Cup of Hockey or some form of an International Tournament as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported on Saturday prior to the NHL going back to the Olympics in 2026. However, what fans know of a World Cup of Hockey in a traditional will not be coming in February 2025.

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As a matter of fact, this new International Tournament will feature four teams. The United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. Russia will not be involved in this tournament because of what is going on in the world.

As Greg Wyshynski of ESPN in terms of Russian participation, the NHL had talked about Russian players competing under a neutral name and flag, rather than directly representing their nation, in the next World Cup of Hockey.

Per Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, nations like Sweden and Finland did not want to participate in this International Hockey Tournament if the Russians were involved.

There are conflicting reports on where games could be played. Per Wyshynski, the proposed format could see two games played in North America between Canada and the U.S. While Sweden and Finland could play two in either of those two nations.

However, that may not be the case.

Per Dave Pagnotta who was on Sirius XM NHL Network Radio, he states “with respect to the World Cup in the destination, or whatever this international affair is going to be. I don’t think they’ve locked in the event. I think it would be centralized by the sounds of it. So if it does replace basically All-Star Weekend, or it may become an extension off of All-Star Weekend, one or the other depending on who you talk to.

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It certainly sounds like it’s going to be a mini-tournament type. A week, 10 days kind of kind of event. And then, you know, kind of kind of go from there. But because of that, I think they want to keep it centralized. Or at least keep the markets kind of close together.”

Again the winners of those matchups, either by points or aggregate goals, would face the second-best team from the other matchup — most likely in North America. The winners of those “semifinals” would then meet for the tournament championship, leaving open the possibility that the U.S. and Canada could meet in that final game.

This opens up the NHL and NHLPA to questions about the young and upcoming stars in other hockey nations like the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland.

The NHL and NHLPA have not participated in a true World Cup of Hockey since 2004. The last World Cup of Hockey 2016, had Team North America and Team Europe in it. Again not a traditional World Cup in the sense of what we saw in 1996 and 2004 and even prior to that in the Canada Cup.

The last best-on-best tournament was the 2014 Sochi Olympics.