NHL players to return to Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030

Sidney Crosby celebrates scoring in the 2014 Winter Olympics gold medal match

The National Hockey League will send players to the Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030 - marking their return for the first time since 2014.

The NHL did not send players to Pyeongchang in 2018 due to not wanting a break to happen while the season was taking place.

They did not compete in Beijing in 2022 because of Covid-19 concerns.

"NHL players take great pride in representing their countries," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"We are pleased that, 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."

The 2026 Games will be held in Italy from 6-22 February, 2026, while the host of the 2030 Winter Olympics is expected to be announced later this year.