It is NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto, Ontario. Some of the league's best players are participating in a great celebration of hockey.
Things got even better for hockey when Gary Bettman spoke on Friday afternoon. He sat up on a stage and announced some big things for the sport.
First of all, the NHL has announced that best-on-best hockey is returning to the Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030.
That means that NHL players are going to participate in the event for the first time since Sochi in 2014.
The NHL needs to have its players representing their country regularly
There are still conversations being had as to whether or not Russia is going to be allowed to participate in the upcoming international events. A meeting will take place next week with the IIHF.
All of the elite players in this league want to represent their country in the Olympics. It has been a staple for hockey for a long time and they've been lacking it for a while.
This would be good enough but there is more. The NHL and NHLPA have announced that the 2025 All-Star Game is being replaced with the "Four Nations Faceoff".
This world tournament will take place next February between Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States. It will be a round-robin tournament with a three-point system and the top two teams will compete in a one-game final.
The league also made it clear that the hope is to have a World Cup of Hockey in 2028 and 2032 so there will be international games with NHL players every two years.
It also sounds like, at least for the Four Nations Faceoff and 2026 Olympics, there will be NHL-sized ice. The Four Nations Faceoff will have NHL rules.
Now that this is announced, people can start thinking about how their favorite players are going to fit into the events. We'll finally get to see guys like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Jack Hughes, and Elias Pettersson represent their countries at best-on-best.
You know that these guys are all incredibly excited about it too. There are plenty of players who will get a shot at becoming legends through these events. It will also drive the fandom of a lot of people from around the world. This is great news for the NHL and is long overdue.