NHL players to return to Winter Olympics in 2026: Sources

NHL players will return to the Winter Olympics in 2026 after a deal was struck Friday morning with the International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee, according to sources briefed on the matter.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players Association executive director Marty Walsh are expected to make the official announcement during the league’s All-Star festivities in Toronto on Friday afternoon.

This will mark the first time the NHL has sent players to the Olympics since the 2014 Games in Sochi.

A deal could not be reached in 2018 and plans to send NHLers to the Beijing Olympics in 2022 were scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league has not held a best-on-best international tournament since the 2016 World Cup and has been working to re-establish a regular rotation of international events.

It will start with a Four Nations tournament in February 2025 that will feature the United States, Canada, Finland and Sweden, according to sources briefed on the matter, and continue with the Games in Milan a year later.

This will be updated with further details.

(Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP via Getty Images)

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