NHL, NHLPA confirm World Cup of Hockey will return in 2020

TORONTO -- The NHL and NHL Players' Association publicly stated their commitment Wednesday to hold the World Cup of Hockey every four years.

"I think we're committed to multiple tournaments on a regular schedule. So, yes, I think we're committed for 2020," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said at a World Cup news conference.

To which NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, sharing the stage with him, added: "Yeah, there's no doubt about that. This was the plan to establish an ongoing event, establish the brand, establish the identity and go forward with it. The prior World Cups were great events in and of themselves, but they didn't have the kind of staying power that doing it regularly provides."

The World Cup, born from the old Canada Cup tournaments from the 1970s and 1980s, was last held in 2004 and before that in 1996.

The league and players' association want to ensure there are no longer any long gaps between tournaments, which is why Daly said that after September's tournament in Toronto, the World Cup will return in 2020.

The long-term commitment to the World Cup has no bearing on the decision of whether to continue NHL Olympic participation, however. The NHL and NHLPA haven't yet decided on the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

"I've said any number of times before that we view this as entirely discrete events," Fehr said. "The Olympics has its own merits, its own issues, and this is a separate event, which focuses only on hockey and the best of the best. We don't consider the question as to one precludes the other. We don't think it does."

Added Daly: "I agree with you. We are viewing it totally discretely now. The Olympic participation is one issue. It's a whole set of issues associated with Olympic participation that don't really relate to World Cup consideration. So we view the two events as separate.''

On an unrelated matter, Daly said the league is leaning toward not having anthems played before games as is the custom in for regular NHL games, at least until the playoff round.

"Well, it is what we've discussed to this point. I can't say anything is finalized, I think, in terms of game presentation, which I put that in the category of," Daly said. "I don't think there are any final decisions, but I think the kind of preliminary view is, until medals are won or awards are given, the anthem is less important.''