The 2020 World Cup of Hockey might be a few years off, but don’t hold your breath in hopes of watching the tournament again anytime soon.
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association both have opt-out dates of 2020, before the 2020-21 regular season, to renegotiate the current collective bargaining agreement. It is because of this that many are starting wonder if the NHL would participate in a World Cup of Hockey, or if it would even be smart to consider it.
While there has been no official word from either the IIHF, the NHL, or the NHLPA on whether or not they would, it’s looking unlikely when you take all things into account. Another point of emphasis, the last time the NHL competed in the World Cup of Hockey during a CBA dispute was before the 2004-05 NHL season.
All NHL fans remember that summer vividly, as the players returned from the tournament to a lockout. This lockout resulted in missing an entire season, and it is a major factor to a drop-off in television viewership. It is highly unlikely that the NHL would be willing to take another hit like that due to an avoidable problem.
Gord Miller of TSN commented on the situation on Twitter, and his thoughts only reassure the fact that the 2020 World Cup of Hockey might not happen.
As is always the case, the IIHF leadership is much more open in talking about negotiations with the media than the NHL. Gary Bettman has had no comment on the issue, as this is likely well down his priority list.
The NHL offered the NHL Players’ Association the ability to participate in the 2018 Olympics in exchange for an extra two years to be added to the current CBA, of which the NHLPA denied. Olympic participation, among other factors like contract length, are likely to be the main topics of discussion when or if the current CBA is reopened in 2020.