After a twelve-year break, ice hockey players from the North American professional league NHL will be back on the ice at the Winter Olympics.
As the NHL announced at the All-Star Game in Toronto, Canada, the players from the best league in the world will take part in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo in 2026 as well as in 2030. The NHL, the players' association NHLPA and the World Ice Hockey Federation IIHF have agreed on this. The 2030 Winter Games are expected to be awarded to France.
NHL professionals last played at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. In 2018, disagreements over insurance and travel costs as well as the large time difference between South Korea and North America prevented participation, and four years later the corona pandemic in Beijing.
"The international makeup of the National Hockey League roster is unparalleled and NHL players take great pride in representing their countries," said powerful NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
To date, NHL players have taken part in the Winter Olympics six times: 1998 in Nagano, 2002 in Salt Lake City, 2006 in Turin, 2010 in Vancouver and 2014 in Sochi.