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NHL, NHLPA rule out possibility of 2020 World Cup of Hockey

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The international tournament was last held in 2016 after a 12-year hitatus.

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 Final - Game Two - Canada v Europe Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association agreed Wednesday in Toronto to abandon the possibility of holding a World Cup of Hockey tournament in September 2020.

The NHLPA released the following statement on the matter:

“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. While we and the league have discussed the possibility of holding the next World Cup in September 2020, we jointly concluded that it is unrealistic to expect that preparations for the event would be completed in time. We look forward to continuing our discussions with the league.”

Not holding the World Cup in September 2020 is substantial because it was tied to the potential of NHL labor peace. Franchise owners or players could choose this September to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and eliminate it Sept. 15, 2020.

The current CBA runs until 2022 unless the NHL or NHLPA decides to terminate it early.

The World Cup tournament was last held in 2016 because the NHL didn’t allow its players to compete in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. The 2016 World Cup had eight teams: Canada (players age 24 and older), Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, United States (players age 24 and older), Team Europe (players from other European nations) and Team North America (players age 23 and under from Canada and United States).

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, defenseman Duncan Keith and center Jonathan Toews won the tournament with Canada, who defeated Team Europe 2-0 in a best-of-three final.

Six other Blackhawks at the time competed in the tournament: Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin (Russia), Teuvo Teravainen (Finland), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden), Marian Hossa (Europe) and Patrick Kane (United States).

Brandon Saad, who was with Columbus at the time, played for Team North America.