NHL to return to Olympics in 2026, hold ‘4 Nations Face-Off’ in 2025

The NHL is returning to the Olympics.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday that the league will be send its players to participate in both the 2026 Milan Games and the 2030 Games. The latter Olympic Games currently is without a host city.

“The international composition of National Hockey League rosters is unparalleled, and NHL Players take great pride in representing their countries,” Bettman said. “We are pleased that today, after intense collaborative efforts with the NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, we can formally announce that NHL Players will participate in both the 2026 and 2030 Olympic hockey tournaments.”

Also on Friday, the NHL announced a four-team international tournament for 2025 will include the United States, Canada, Finland and Sweden. The “4 Nations Face-Off” will be held in February 2025 in two North American cities — one in the United States, one in Canada. Boston and Montreal are the host cities, according to multiple reports.

The Olympics have not had a contingent of NHL players since the 2014 Sochi Games.

The league skipped the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, over a dispute with the International Olympic Committee over which group would pay for things such as travel, housing and insurance.

In 2022, issues related to COVID-19 caused the NHL players not to compete in the Beijing Games.

“For years, the players have embraced the opportunity to compete for Olympic gold, and we are excited that today’s announcement makes it a certainty for our members in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games,” NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh said. “We also know that hockey fans worldwide have long been anticipating the next best-on-best international competition, and now they can finally see some of their favorite players represent their countries and line up together.”

The 4 Nations Face-Off will consist of seven games played over a nine-day span from Feb. 12-20, 2025.

“This marks a new era for international hockey,” Walsh said. “We view this event as a building block to a larger World Cup.”