Possible omen of NHL work stoppage as league, players' association abandon World Cup in 2020

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have given up on the possibility of staging the next World Cup of Hockey in September 2020.

Tournament is tied to labour peace; either side can opt out of collective bargaining agreement in September

Brad Marchand, right, and Jonathan Toews celebrate Team Canada's victory over Europe in the final of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Sept. 29, 2016 in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have given up on the possibility of staging the next World Cup of Hockey in September 2020 but will continue collective bargaining talks.

In separate statements released Wednesday, the league and NHLPA announced that there's not enough time to put together a World Cup in roughly 20 months. The sides met earlier in the day in Toronto to discuss the World Cup as part of collective bargaining talks after holding an informal meeting in Las Vegas on Jan. 10 that lasted more than two hours.

Not holding the World Cup in September 2020 is consequential because it was so closely linked to the potential of labour peace in hockey. But the NHL and NHLPA plan to meet again soon with the goal of avoiding a potential work stoppage. A lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season; another lasted more than three months in 2012-13.

The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) runs until 2022, but either owners or players could choose this September to opt out and end it Sept. 15, 2020. Players' escrow payments and Olympic participation are significant issues that must be overcome to avoid either side re-opening the CBA.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, pictured at the 2015 announcement of the 2016 World Cup tournament, agreed Wednesday that there would be no 2020 edition. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

The league's deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, told The Associated Press last week he believed there was a commitment by both sides to continue talking and "see if we can move forward on something that might work for a CBA extension."

"While the parties have now joined the concluded that it is no longer realistic to try to schedule a World Cup of Hockey for the fall of 2020, they plan to continue their dialogue with the hope of being able to schedule the next World Cup event as part of a broader agreement, which would include a long-term international event calendar," the NHL said in a statement.

Watch: Canada defeats Europe to win 2016 World Cup of Hockey:

Canada defeats Europe 2-1 to win the World Cup of Hockey

6 years ago
Duration 0:37
Brad Marchand's shorthanded goal with 44 seconds remaining was the game winner

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey generated revenue that was split evenly among owners and players, and the goal is to keep that event going with another edition at a time later than September 2020.

"The players are focused on finding the proper time to schedule the World Cup of Hockey within the context of an overall international hockey calendar," the NHLPA said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our discussions with the league."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?