NHL chief wants Russians to play in World Cup of Hockey
NHL Commissioner Bill Daly has indicated that Russian players should be able to participate in the World Cup of Hockey scheduled to take place in 2024.
Though Russians can be found all over the elite North American league consisting of franchises from the US and Canada, Russian teams are currently blocked from featuring in international competitions.
This is due to a ban the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) imposed based on an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation in response to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.
On Thursday, however, Daly gave Russian stars hope of being able to compete in the World Cup of Hockey in some capacity while speaking to American media at the Player Media Tour in Henderson, Nevada.
While Daly said it was too early to ascertain how Russia would be able to appear at the event, he appeared confident that Russian players would be able to.
“Certainly, we’d like that and I think our Russian players would like that. So we would certainly like to accommodate them in some credible way,” Daly said, as quoted by ESPN.
It has been suggested that this might mean the players performing under neutral status and without their national team’s name and flag.
At the tournament scheduled to take place over 17 days in February 2024, it is not expected that there will be a Team Europe and Team North America, as seen the last time the event was held in 2016.
Instead, ten national teams are tipped to take part in the 2024 edition of the tournament, with two outfits eliminated from a qualification round as the other eight compete for the title.
Countries such as Canada, the US, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, and some form of the Russia team should feature, while other candidates to round out the pack include Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Norway.
Daly’s comments come after Russian hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov stated a belief that his homeland would be able to send a team to the World Cup of Hockey and doubted its credentials without Russian stars.
“The World Cup without [Evgeni] Malkin, [Alexander] Ovechkin and [Artemi] Panarin? I can’t believe it,” Fetisov scoffed.
“If you have these guys playing in the [NHL], why can’t you make a team out of them?
“Based on logic and reason, I think the Russian team will participate in the World Cup,” Fetisov concluded.