The NHL will announce the return of the World Cup of Hockey during the upcoming All-Star break, reports TSN's Rick Westhead.
This year's break runs from Jan. 22-26, with the All-Star Game held Jan. 25 in Columbus.
According to Westhead, one tweak with the World Cup's return includes a best-of-three series in the tournament's final, which reportedly has been well received by the NHL's sponsors. It's believed the World Cup could generate $100 million in revenue for the league.
No firm date for the World Cup's return has been reported, but it's expected to be contested in the fall of 2016. It was reported in November that Toronto could host the entire tournament, which would mark a departure from the format of the 1996 and 2004 events in which multiple cities across the globe hosted games.
Another reported change involves the tournament having six regular teams (Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic), with a seventh team made up of players from various European countries and an eighth team of an unknown composition.
The NHL's role in reinstating the World Cup of Hockey has given rise to speculation that the NHL could stop sending players to the Winter Olympics. The NHL has cooperated with the Olympics by holding a break during the event, but the league is shut out of revenue and marketing opportunities since the Olympic tournaments are run by the IHF.
Canada won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, while the U.S. won the inaugural event in 1996. The World Cup was preceded by the Canada Cup, which was held five times between 1976 and 1991.
- Ben Estes