NHL players returning to Olympics in 2026 and 2030

NHL players will be able to participate in the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2014

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NHL stars can continue their chase for gold, silver and bronze.

The league announced on Friday that NHL players will once again be allowed to participate in the Olympics, beginning with the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo and continuing in 2030. The NHL, NHL Players' Association and International Hockey Federation came to terms on the agreement.

"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 in a press release. "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."

Active NHL players have not been allowed to play in the Olympics since the 2014 Games in Sochi. Players were kept out of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics due to a dispute between the NHL and International Olympic Committee over costs. NHL stars were set to return for the 2022 Olympics, but the league announced on Dec. 22, 2021, that players would no longer be able to compete in Beijing due to schedule complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Milano Cortina 2026 is scheduled to be held Feb. 6-22, 2026, and will mark the sixth time overall that NHL players will compete at the Olympics. The host for the 2030 Winter Olympics has not been announced but is expected to be chosen later this year.

"The international composition of National Hockey League rosters is unparalleled, and NHL players take great pride in representing their countries," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in the press release.

Canada won gold in 2010 and 2014, the last two Olympics to feature NHL players. The U.S. earned silver with an overtime defeat against Canada in the 2010 final and placed fourth in 2014.

Team USA went on fill its roster with minor leaguers, college players and players who were with teams overseas over the next two Olympics. The team lost in the quarterfinals both times, falling to the Czech Republic in 2018 and Slovakia in 2022.

As part of the agreement, the NHL announced that its players will be allowed to compete in the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off. The midseason tournament will feature the top NHL players from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden.

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