The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced on Wednesday that there won't be a World Cup of Hockey in 2020.
The two groups met in Toronto and released their statements respectively.
The NHL: "While the parties have now jointly 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 a 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 NHLPA: "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 added that it was "unrealistic to expect preparations for the event would be completed in time."
Unlike other international ice hockey events that are run by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the World Cup of Hockey's organized by the NHL and the NHLPA before NHL training camps. The event has happened three times so far respectively in 2004, 2006 and 2016. Last time in Toronto, it was between Team Europe and the U23 Team North America.
The NHL and the NHLPA met in Toronto to discuss the World Cup as part of their negotiation over the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Such talks have been going on for the past few weeks to reach a new deal between the league and the players. The current one will expire in 2020 though both sides have the right to opt out of it in September, according to ESPN.
Now that the World Cup is cancelled, the two sides can concentrate on the specifics of the deal but they should keep in mind that the NHL is no stranger to lockouts. The 2004-2005 lockout led to the cancellation of all games that season. The 2013-13 one lasted four months and shortened the regular season to 48 games per team.
Interestingly, there are people counting on NHL to go through a lockout. The CSKA Moscow from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) paid cash to the Severstal Cherepovets to acquire rights for players including Sebastian Aho, David Pastrnak and Joel Armia, all from NHL teams, according to Yahoo Sports.
The Russian team were betting on the possibility of another lockout in 2020. If the world's best ice hockey players cannot work in the world's top league, they will need a backup plan and the KHL sounds like a good option considering that it already absorbed 40 NHL players in the 2012-13 season. However, CSKA Moscow has a good chance of getting nothing for their money, but if a lockout does happen, the reward will be worth it.