The big hockey news came from behind Rabako on Friday, when it became clear that NHL players would participate in the next two Winter Olympics. Additionally, the United States, Canada, Finland and Sweden will play a four-nation tournament with NHL players in February 2025.
read more: Revolutionary Hockey News! NHL players for the Olympics – Finnish stars already in the four-nation tournament in February 2025
Yle Sports Expert Top Nättinen Was happy about the Olympic news, but thought the four-nation competition would cause gravel noise in the long run. According to the expert, Finnish hockey is now properly weighed internationally for the first time in a long time.
NHL players will participate in both the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics. NHL players have not competed in the Winter Olympics since 2014. According to Nättinen, the NHL's decision was expected.
– The pressure has definitely come from the players as they always want to go to the Olympics. Yes, the NHL realizes what North American stars want Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon And Austen Mathews Also needed for the Olympics. They are the best players in the world. This is also an ad for NHL, Nättinen saw.
– For example, it would be a shame if Connor McDavid couldn't play in the Olympics in a Canadian shirt.
Connor McDavid, listed as the best player in the world, represented the North American team at the 2016 Under-23 World Cup. He last played in the World Cup in the spring of 2018.
McDavid insisted at the NHL media conference that he has always been a vocal advocate for national team hockey.
– This possibility is a dream come true. I have been talking about this for a long time. “I think it's important for hockey as we continue to try to grow our game both internationally and domestically (in Canada),” enthused McDavid.
Sebastian Aho happy
For the first time in eight years, the best players will face each other in an international tournament. The World Cup was last held in 2016.
It's certainly great news in other respects To Sebastian Aho, Patrick Lainey, Miko Randanen, Miro Heiskanen And for other star-type Finnish NHL players who still can't play adult national team hockey together.
– Now the Finnish players born in the 1990s will get the crown and chance they deserve. They grew up watching games in Turin, Salt Lake City and Nagano. Then there were Vancouver and Sochi.
– Alexander Barkov And Ollie Mata Played in Sochi in the 90s, but practically no one could play except for one World Cup, which ended with a stomach bug, Nättinen recalls.
Aho said at the NHL's media conference that he is happy that NHL players are returning to international hockey.
– I remember very well watching the Olympics when I was little, it was a dream for me to play there.
– Our generation could not represent Finland as NHL players. I am very excited about this. The entire nation is behind the team. I know many people in Finland and in Europe are excited about it. I am always happy to be able to play for the national team.
Finnish hockey for a real pounder
Nättinen now sees that Finnish puck status is Olympic and attainable 4 nations head to head -Rival to a real punter.
– We counted the World Cup and the Junior World Cup, but now let's get the criteria right for Finnish ice hockey. Now you can find out where the world's best go.
So let's play next year NHL 4 Nations Face-Off -Event. Canadian, American, Finnish and Swedish teams with NHL players play in international competition.
– Here, in the big picture, business comes first, and the NHL wants to make money. The NHL also wants players to get what they want. It's like the international football mentality, Nättinen reflected, when the Nations League is brought there in addition to prestigious competitions.
4 nations head to head The event is played in Canada and the United States. This replaces the Constellation weekend of the 2024-2025 season.
– Of course there will be excitement and enthusiasm here at first, but if this is brought there permanently, sometimes there will be gravel noises when the Olympic Games and such competitions return every year.
Nättinen finds that the number of matches can cause irritation in the long run and increase injuries.
– Now it was easier to sell when people were excited. Personally, I'm very much in favor of the Olympics being enough, but we want to talk money and do business. The halls are packed and I believe there is enough visibility.
The NHL's plan is that the winter 2025 four-nation tournament will be a taster. The NHL believes so According to its notificationThe 2025 “interim tournament” is the gateway to the regular international schedule, which includes the NHL's participation in the Olympics and the biennial World Cup.
Heavy pressure on Pennas, does Jalos regret it?
I became a woman He will take over the Finnish men's A national team later this spring. At the helm of the Lions, Pennaz now has two World Cups, one Olympics and one tournament 4 nations head to head – Competition.
Nättinen thinks the Pennas have great opportunities ahead, but also a huge amount of pressure with them.
– In the NHL, players are used to intense pressure, but only a coach who has coached in the SM league is in such a tough position. Although he has great skills, there is another side to the coin. A game will determine whether you are a good guy or a bad guy in the eyes of an entire nation.
Nättinen says the Lions could be an addition to the background team for the NHL Olympics.
– Help and support is not a bad thing if it is reasonable. I could imagine that Pennanen's team would have people with NHL experience.
After the spring, Pennanen will take over the coaching duties of the winning pilot From Jukka Jalos.
– I would now like to hear a direct and honest assessment, Hermitago Jukka Jalo. “I think he's a bit upset because he didn't get the best players like Lejonat won the Olympic bronze in 2010,” reflects Nättinen.
– Something must be stuck in his teeth, at which point he makes his debut as a trainer. He did not put together the best players in his last national team. This is great for Pennas, but certainly unfortunate for Jalos.
NHL players did not participate in the Olympics because the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) did not reach an agreement. The NHL is reluctant to allow its players to compete in the middle of the NHL season. Additionally, diversions involve, for example, player insurance matters.