(Reuters) - The National Hockey League (NHL) and its players' association (NHLPA) said on Friday they would be unable to put on the World Cup of Hockey in 2024 as hoped and would instead aim to hold the tournament in February 2025.
The eight-team international tournament is held at irregular intervals and has occurred three times previously, with the United States winning the inaugural event in 1996 and Canada coming out on top in 2004 and 2016.
"Over the last year, the NHL and the NHLPA have been working on plans to conduct the next World Cup of Hockey, the premier international best-on-best hockey tournament, in February 2024," the NHL and NHLPA said in a joint statement.
"Unfortunately, in the current environment it is not feasible to hold the World Cup of Hockey at that time."
The news comes months after the NHL declined to send their players to the Beijing Olympics citing schedule disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has led to their athletes' exclusion from several international competitions.
The top-flight North American league revived the tournament in 2016 as an alternative to having players compete in the Winter Games, adding "young guns" Canadian and American teams to boost numbers on the ice.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Christian Radnedge)