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NHL waiting for NHLPA ‘to sign off’ on World Cup of Hockey

Apr 17, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

The NHL isn’t saying if it’ll commit to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, but it sure sounds like the league is making alternate arrangements for an international hockey tournament.

From Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interview with commissioner Gary Bettman:

Trib: Do you still have plans for a World Cup of hockey?

Bettman: It’s something we’ve repeatedly said we’re interested in. We’ve been in discussion with the Players Association, which obviously is our partner in this. We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do. We’re waiting for the PA to sign off.

The World Cup of Hockey was inaugurated in 1996, the successor to the Canada Cup (which went from 1976-91). The key thing to note about the World Cup was that it was sanctioned and organized by the NHL — as opposed to the World Hockey Championships and Olympic tournaments, both of which are run by the IIHF.

The U.S. won the inaugural ’96 World Cup, defeating Canada in the final, before Canada returned to the gold medal game in 2004 and won, beating Finland 3-2.

The tournament hasn’t been played since but, in February, Bettman suggested that resurrecting the World Cup was in the cards.

“The fact of the matter is, whatever we decide to do I believe in the not-too-distant future the NHL and NHLPA will be in a position to talk about other international initiatives that we’re discussing, including bringing back the World Cup,” Bettman said, per NHL.com. “We see international competition on the horizon; it’s really just a question of what the format will be.”

Last May, Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak said the World Cup of Hockey would indeed be coming back, believed to be returning in the summer of 2016.

Recently, Bettman has been very calculated regarding his comments about future Olympic participation. While he hasn’t ruled out going to PyeongChang, he has brought up the fact many NHL clubs complained of player fatigue following the Sochi Games, and that going to the next Olympics isn’t even on the league’s radar at the moment.

“What’s interesting is Chicago, who had 10 Olympians, post-Olympics went through a…losing streak, couple of injuries to key players,” Bettman told SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. “The coach of St. Louis, Ken Hitchcock was just quoted as saying that he thought his team had run out of gas at the end of the regular season. He had nine players at the Olympics.

“The only thing I can tell you is from the moment the games were over in Sochi, we haven’t given the Olympics a moment’s thought. All we were focused on was the end of our regular season and the playoffs and at some other time we’re going to worry about it. It’s nothing we’re thinking about now.”

  1. patthehockeyfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Speaking of few commenters this morning, this article is really a buzz-kill. Not the article; but, the photo of Gary Buttman.

    • imleftcoast - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      Gary Eaglseon is an attorney of impeccable character. Love this of altruism. I’m sure money couldn’t stain this fine tournament.

  2. ctcork - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Honestly I think it’s gotta be one or the other. If you have NHL stars in both it kind of takes away from the value of winning one.

    • JoeAvg - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Don’t worry. If they arrange a World Cup in the off-season there will be no Olympics during the season. The disruption is the main thing they want to get away from.

  3. storminator16 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I came to view just to see how many people just commented on Bettman instead of the story. I swear, Gary Bettman can’t do right by some of you. Seriously, grow up.

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      “Seriously, grow up.”

      Why?

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        So you can pay taxes.

      • patthehockeyfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        “So you can pay taxes.”

        Oh, yeah. THAT’s a good reason.

        Besides, I know plenty of grownups who don’t pay taxes. (And, they’re all rich.)

        Nope. Sorry 22yearsago. You’re going to have to give me a better reason than that.

    • WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      I came to view just to see how many poeple just commented on people who commented on Bettman instead of the story. I swear, seriously grow up.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        Bettman had also screwed up the television aspect of the NHL in not one country but two. The US had a deal with ESPN, the “world wide leader in sports” which would get run on Sports Center every night. He chased the money, as short sided as he is, to jump to something called OLN, which nobody heard of. Of course they went on to change their name to Versus, and subsequently bought by NBC. I highly doubt your casual fan turned to channel 953 or wherever OLN was buried and didn’t take any time to find it. He could have had what the NBA did and give ESPN a game of the week and still get sports center run.

        Now he did the same thing in Canada leaving TSN to chase the money. TSN is Canada’s version of ESPN.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

        honestly, I liked Versus’ NHL coverage. they actually…. ya know…. covered it. hockey never really caught on with ESPN, and it showed. personally, I’m not Bettman supporter, but I’m glad hockey isn’t on ESPN. that way, I NEVER have to turn on that god-awful channel.

      • tmoore4075 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        This it not to you but the person who commented. At the time, no deal with ESPN was stupid. Now? Hell no. They are on the NBCSN 2-3 times a week, in prime time. No way could ESPN promise that with having MLB, the NBA and the NFL. They would be treated as 4th tier there. When they were on ESPN, most nights were on ESPN 2 and NHL 2 Night was on after midnight on the east coast. Thanks for that ESPN. Now, every game is on TV with NBC. It’s a great deal $$ for them now as well. Same goes for the new Canada deal. Sportsnet ain’t nothing, although it’s not TSN. And again the $$ is massive for the league and owners.

    • chunkala - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Why? Bettman has been terrible for the NHL. He’s an NBA guy following their flawed formula, especially when it comes to hockey. People play basketball in Atlanta, they don’t play hockey there. He refused to view any footage of the previous franchise attempt there – Atlanta Flames. He’s moved teams into growing areas of the US, the Southeast and Southwest. This seems like a great strategy except no one cares about hockey there. One of the main rules of business, you can have the greatest product in the world but if there isn’t a need nor want for the product then it won’t be successful. ex: selling ice to an eskimo.
      He also changed the playoff format to emulate the NBA, only finally realizing this year to revert back to the old system (with a few tweaks) employed in the golden age of the NHL. I’m sure I can come up with a few more examples of Bettman’s ineptitude but please tell me why you love him so much?

      • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        You do realize Bettman does NOTHING that the owners aren’t telling him to do, right? You don’t honestly think he just kicked the door in at an owners meeting one day and said “Look, I’m taking over this league, you’re going to pay me what I say, and I’m going to do whatever I want with all your multi-million dollar investments.” B.S.!! The owners own the teams, hence they own the league. Bettman works for the owners ,THEY hired him run the league office and facilitate deals on THEIR behalf! No city is awarded an expansion team without a favorable vote from the board of Governors (the owners). No team gets relocated without a vote form the B.O.G.. The playoff format cannot be changes without a vote from the B.O.G….and NHLPA. NOTHING Bettman does happens without approval from the B.O.G.!!! So unless you openly hate/boo your team’s owner too, you are being a hypocrite. And just admit you hate and boo Bettman because it’s the “trendy” thing to do. I can actually respect that more if someone said “I only hate on Bettman because it’s fun to do.”

        YOU may not like him, but I’m guessing you aren’t a team owner, they seem to like him a whole hell of lot. Which bring me back to the owners. If you hate Bettman so much, why are you fans leaning on your owners to remove him? Stop going to games, make it known you won’t buy any more tickets until Bettman is removed. If you all hate him so much for what “he’s” done to the game. Also, if you think for one minute hiring a new commissioner will mean big changes, think again. The commissioner will ALWAYS do exactly what the owners want him to do.

        For the record, my little southern team that “no one cares about” missed the playoffs this year, and SUCKED for the majority of the season with Rinne out. Yet we averaged 97% attendance. Yes, there is a little outside help from Chicago and St. Louis fans, but we don’t play them all 41 games. So most of that attendance is indeed coming from Nashville. They aren’t all going to be successes, but some actually are. Regardless of what you convince yourself to be the truth. Some cities have had their team for 40 to 100 years!!! Nashville has been here 15…..changes cannot and will not happen overnight. A generation or two need to grow up with the game before it become cemented into that city’s culture. I’d say Nashville is well on their way already to doing just that.

        I know you weren’t replying to me, but personally I don’t love him haha. I don’t hate him either. I’m just sick of the blind hate and ignorance fans continually show towards the commissioner. Hate all involved or don’t hate at all. Doing otherwise is nothing short of hypocritical.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        why do you assume we blindly hate him? for me, I don’t feel the need to explain why I’m bashing him every time i bash him. nobody just decided to hate the guy out of the blue. there’s reasons we don’t like how he runs the league.

      • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        @ibieniid Why do I assume? Because when people get all uppity about what the commissioner is doing NO ONE mentions the owners…..EVER! Bettman is not doing things of his own free will here. Nothing he does happens without approval from the B.O.G.! He facilitates deal on their behalf. I don’t know why I engage in this argument every time there’s a story about Bettman haha. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Are the owner not responsible for ANYTHING that happens in the NHL? It’s all Bettman, right? Sarcastic questions, because the owners are responsible for EVERYTING that happens in the NHL. They own the teams and the league, Bettman is their employee.

        I’m done now, back to work. No more replies today fellow hockey fans.

      • ibieiniid - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        yeah I’ll bow out of this one too. every time i think of the lockout, I shudder in disgust.

      • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        OK one more, I’m still on my lunch break.

        HAHA, there it is again. Did the B.O.G. and NHLPA have nothing to do with the lockouts? All Bettman’s fault right? Look, I don’t care that people hate him, I really don’t. I have no emotional stake in people loving the commissioner haha. I just want people to wise up and get pissed at everyone involved. If you hate the commissioner and not the owners, then you’re a hypocrite. I’m not saying that to be rude or put you down, it’s just the honest truth. That goes for all Bettman hating hockey fans. Next cup presentation keep your eyes and ears open. Bettman will come out and everyone will BOO! Then the team owner comes out (if the home team wins the cup that is) and everyone will cheer! Anything Bettman has done that you don’t like, that owner (and all the owners) played a bigger part in than Bettman did! Yet no one hates the owner(s). That’s my only problem, this idea that it’s all Bettman. When in fact it isn’t at all.

        It’s all good, hate away hockey fans. One day Bettman will be gone and nothing will change. HAHA!

      • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        Correction, nothing will change that the owners and NHLPA don’t agree upon…..facilitated by the commissioner on behalf of the owners.

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Storm, What has Bettman done to deserve praise?

      When he took over in the 90’s he literally took cups away from several fan bases. I’m sure Minnesota North Stars fans wouldn’t have minded keeping their team and watching Modano win a cup. I’m sure Hartford Whalers fans would have enjoyed the 2 cup runs and 1 cup win the Canes fan got to see. Nordiques fans missed out on TWO cups Colorado got instead. And he’s spent years fighting to keep some teams in dying or non-hockey markets. How many years in a row does Phoenix need to lose money before they wake up?

      As for International hockey, Bettman spent his entire NHL career trying his hardest to NOT send NHL players to the Olympics. He claims he wants to do things “for the good of the game” but routinely does the exact opposite. He’s only interested in making money NOW, not growing the game.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        I agree with you on the most part, but it was hard to keep Quebec and Winnipeg at the time. The Canadien dollar fell to basically .50 to the US dollar. But now that Canada had come back stronger economically, they both deserve teams. Hopefully Quebec is an expansion team, which expansion is coming soon.

        Bettman’s down fall on expansion isn’t the southern teams, it’s the fact he grew the league way too fast. San Jose, Anaheim, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Ottawa all in 3 years, plus Minnesota moving south to Dallas. The NHL grew to fast in the south. Then teams followed suit relocating from Winnipeg and Hartford to Phoenix and Carolina. Then 5 and 6 years later they are expanded again to Nashvile and Atlanta.

        Hockey can work in the south, but teams need to have solid ownership. Anaheim, Los Angeles, Carolina and Tampa all have solid ownership groups, and solid attendance. With that comes solid players and solid teams. Florida and Phoenix can work, but at the moment their ownerships are too new to tell if they are the right owners.

      • tmoore4075 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        @greatmiamisportsmind First, Bettman had nothing to do with the North Stars leaving. They moved 6 months after he took over. Those things don’t just happen, so the team moving was building for a while. He also had nothing to do with most of the early expansion. San Jose started in 91-92, before he was commissioner. Tampa and the Sens started the next year, before he was commissioner. FLA and Anaheim started in 93-94, he became commissioner early in 1993. So again, that was happening well before him and would happen if someone else had been named commissioner. I don’t like the guy a lot of the times but people need to stop using the 91-94 expansion as a reason to hate him. He had nothing to do with it! You can blame the later expansion and relocations on him sure. But expansion as a whole, was decided by the owners in about 1990 and they had planned to go to 28 teams back then. So even without Bettman, they would have ended up in bad markets most likely. He does what the owners want, and expansion in the 90’s is what they wanted.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        Bettman could have prevented the North Stars moving. It was then owner Norm Green’s wife who told him to either move the team out of Minnesota or she would file for divorce. Don’t forget Norm Green had a sexual harassment law suit from a female North Star employee at the time. Bettman could have stopped it, just like David Stern stopped the Timberwolves from moving to New Orelans in the mid 90s. All Bettman said “my hands are tied.”

    • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      Umm……you aren’t commenting on the story either!!! HAHA!! So if the people commenting to people commenting on Bettman instead of the story need to grow up. I say the people commenting on people commenting on people commenting about Bettman instead of the story REALLY need to grow up! ….I think I got that right.

      Just having a little fun. Don’t get mad.

      • bellicosejeff - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        This was intended for WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife?

  4. malinpaul - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    The Olympics are a beautiful thing. The years with the Olympics the NHL should have a slightly shortened season – say 70 games. Then they should have a Canada Cup every alternate 2 years but hold it in the summer. Canada should field two teams for this tourney (but the A team should pick its players first)

    World Cup is Soccer – and yes in NA we should go back to referring to it as Soccer

    Finally instead of meaningless outdoor games, they should hold bowl games around the mid season lull. these should be held on years without the CC and Olym. The Bowl games should be meaningful – original 6 bowl, California Bowl, Expansion bowl etc. where teams’ Sep-Dec regular season records qualify them for the bowl games (ie. the best two original 6 teams compete for the Original 6 Bowl etc.)

    that is all.

    • malinpaul - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      thumbs down to making the Olympics work, bringing back the Canada Cup (and not having guys as good as Taylor Hall miss out), cool bowl games, and tiny jab at football!

      booo.

  5. lateralous - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    This would be a mistake if it’s in place of the Olympics. The USA vs Canada final in Vancouver got a 22 rating or whatever it did in America because it was part of a much bigger event (which it happens to be one of the crown jewels of). Only hardcore hockey fans will watch a world cup of hockey.

    Also, will Europeans even care about an NHL run tournament? What benefit will the KHL and Swedish Elite leagues have for sending players over so that the greedy NHL owners can line their pockets with even more money?

    • chunkala - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      The only counter I would say that maybe it’s best to skip the next Olympics since the time difference in South Korea may make hockey games unwatchable to most of North America. Maybe he puts this in place and if the next Winter Games comes to NA or Europe then the NHL will re-enter their players again.
      Just a thought here but I agree with you and would like to see NHL still involved in Olympics.

  6. toiletclown - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Pittsburgh media gets every good NHL story.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      “It’s something we’ve repeatedly said we’re interested in.”

      …yeah, they just get it after everybody else has already gotten it. it’s like how Europe gets big picture movies well after the US.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    I wish they’d bring this tournament back permanently. I like having an international tournament on NHL sized ice with NHL rules.

    I wish the Olympics and World Cup could alternate every 2 years, but I’m guessing this tourny would be more of replacement. Bettman’s never wanted NHLers to play for the IIHF’s gain. For someone who claims to want to do things “for the good of the game”, Bettman sure has a way of hindering international hockey relations.

    • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Be careful or that Bettman lover will call you out.

  8. tmoore4075 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    There are a lot of reasons to not like Bettman but as some have said, he does what the owners want. He works for them and his main job is to make them money. The World Cup is a great idea because the NHL and NHLPA can control it. There is a lot of crap to deal with with the IIHF. I like the Olympics but what a cluster you know what it was this year in Sochi.

    Expansion: As I mentioned above, the NHL was planning on expanding to 28 teams before Bettman was even in the picture. So that would have happened anyways. So people really need to stop blaming Tampa, FLA, SJ and Anaheim on him. You can not like some of his choices for relocation but people make mistakes. It’s also why they won’t just move teams now, even when fans say they should. Of the 4 expansion teams he was involved in, Columbus, Nashville, Atlanta and Minnesota, really only Atlanta was really bad. If the Jackets had been more competitive, they’d be better and the Preds do ok even if they are a small market.

    The tv deal sucked at first, but it’s more than ok now. While the studio guys suck on NBC, I’d take multi-night coverage and being treated as a #1 sport over what ESPN did do, and what they’d still do. I was able to watch every game last night and will tonight and throughout the playoffs.

    I don’t like him that much, but people really need to know what they are talking about when they say they hate him. I again go back to the fact he works for the owners and this league was making like 600mil a year when he took over. They now make over $3bil. I wonder why the owners want to keep him around.

  9. henrik4dawin - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I really hope the olympics come back, it’s a lot of fun, the players seem to love it, it expands the sport, and it is fun to have it around all the other sports. I understand not liking the interruption, but in the end, it’s better to expand the sport than it is to have a little tournament in the summer. I think bowing out of the olympics would be bad for the league

  10. joey4id - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    GB alone is not responsible for the lockouts. His bosses are the owners and they running the show when it comes to lockouts. Yes! He’s the front man, and I’m sure he provides i/p into the process. However, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

    The NHL brand has never been as popular as it is now, and never as financially profitable as it is today. Many of the fans don’t care about the business side, but without it we may not have the quality of hockey that we currently enjoy. Year after year we get to enjoy the best hockey players in the world playing for the NHL, and competing for the holy grail of hockey. The Stanley Cup is known in a every country where hockey is played, and winning it is a dream of every young player. A lot of that credit goes to people before GB, but he certainly brought the value of NHL teams to another level.

  11. kastout11 - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    The 1996 World Cup was the best hockey I have ever seen. It would be awesome if it came back in the summer of 2016.

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