Any number of the Pittsburgh Penguins will now — or again — have the chance to represent their countries at the Olympics after a three-pronged agreement announced Friday.
The NHL, the NHL Players Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation have agreed to NHL player participation at the 2026 and 2030 Games, they announced jointly in conjunction with the NHL All-Star weekend.
The biggest questions surrounding Penguins players probably is whether star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will participate. They have represented Canada and Russia, respectively, before — Crosby, of course scored the “golden goal” in overtime in 2010 to beat the United States and clinch the gold medal for Team Canada.
However, Crosby will be 38 and 42, Malkin 39 and 43 for those tournaments. The NHL has not sent players to the Olympics since 2014.
The 2026 Winter Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 6-22, 2026, in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. A host city or region for 2030 has not been chosen.
During a press conference Friday in Toronto, officials said further details of the participation — that likely will include how the NHL will work an Olympic break into its schedule, a sticking point for recent Games — will be worked out soon.
Officials released these comments from the heads of the three involved organizations:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:
“The international composition of National Hockey League rosters is unparalleled, and NHL Players take great pride in representing their countries. We are pleased that today, after intense collaborative efforts with the NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation, we can formally announce that NHL Players will participate in both the 2026 and 2030 Olympic hockey tournaments.”
NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh:
“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. 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 favourite players represent their countries and line up together.”
IIHF president Luc Tardif:
“This decision represents a turning point for Ice Hockey at the global level and marks the great return of the NHL Players to the Olympic Games. The IIHF was able to gather all related stakeholders at the same table to find a long-lasting and sustainable consensus, which is the backbone of what we intend to do as Sports Organizations. As prime hockey fans, the IIHF is obviously thrilled and excited about this unprecedented agreement, we are already looking forward to witnessing the Best of Ice Hockey at these upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Milano and in 2030.”