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NHL ends prospect of 2021 World Cup of Hockey

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Credit: Getty Images)

The National Hockey League is still looking to revive the World Cup of Hockey, but a proposed tournament in February 2021 has been axed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

A planned World Cup of Hockey in 2020 was shelved in January this year amid uncertainty over labor relations in the North American ice hockey league. But with a Collective Bargaining Agreement now firmly in place until September 2022, the league is eager to bring back the multination tournament organized by the NHL and NHLPA. It was last played in 2016 in Toronto and previously staged before that in 1996 and 2004.

But speaking at this week’s NHL Board of Governors meeting in Pebble Beach, California, Bettman said there was not enough time to stage the tournament in 2021. With the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022, it is unclear when the World Cup of Hockey will next appear on the calendar. According to one report, the event could be held in 2024 and 2028.

In its place, the 2021 NHL All Star Game could have an enhanced international flavor, which would need to be negotiated with the NHLPA.

Elsewhere, the NHL Seattle expansion team could unveil its logos and colors, and possibly even its name, in February or March, team president and chief executive Tod Leiweke said.

It has also been reported that Target Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, is the front-runner to host the 2021 NHL Winter Classic. Potential opponents for the Minnesota Wild are the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets.