The NHL has identified February 2024 to stage the next World Cup of Hockey ©Getty Images

The National Hockey League (NHL) is targeting a 17-day window in February 2024 to hold the World Cup of Hockey.

The event was last staged in 2016, when all games were played in Toronto, while tournaments have also taken place in 1996 and 2004.

It is organised by the NHL and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA), so uses NHL rules as opposed to those of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

It can also boast the services of NHL players, widely regarded as the best in the world and who have missed the last two Olympic Games.

"We're moving full steam ahead and that means we're continuing to have regular meetings," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

"We're out in market already moving ahead with plans for a February 2024 World Cup.

"We're still on schedule."

Daly confirmed that at least eight national teams are set to feature, with fixtures planned to played in North America and Europe.

"We still want to play one pool in Europe, a preliminary-round pool in Europe and a preliminary-round pool in North America and move the semi-finals and the final to a different city in North America likely," Daly said.

"I think that short list would universally encompass more traditional hockey markets."

It is hoped, however, for the total to reach 10 countries in order to create a preliminary round.

"I think longer term, that's our plan to have a qualification tournament at another time during the calendar," Daly said.

"Given the short timeframe we have between now and February 2024, if we have a qualification stage, I think it's part of the tournament."

The NHLPA met with IIHF President Luc Tardif during a trip to Paris to discuss the World Cup.

Canada were the last winners of the World Cup of Hockey when they beat Team Europe to lift the trophy in 2016 ©Getty Images
Canada were the last winners of the World Cup of Hockey when they beat Team Europe to lift the trophy in 2016 ©Getty Images

The NHL has insisted that it is not opposed to its players competing at the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics.

They were absent at Beijing 2022, however, making it the second consecutive men's tournament at the Olympics that had been missed.

COVID-19 disruption was blamed for their absence, after it had been agreed beforehand that NHL players would play.

The World Cup is part of a wider plan by the NHL to continue international promotion of the sport and the league which is resuming next season with the 2022 Global Series.

It is set to see the Nashville Predators play a preseason game in the Swiss capital of Bern on October 3 while the San Jose Sharks do the same in Berlin a day later, before they open the regular season against each other with two games in Prague on October 7 and 8.

The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets are also due to play two games in Tampere in Finland on November 4 and 5.

"It's very important as we continue to build out our presence in Europe and our international business," Daly said.

"Having the Global Series back on European soil is very important to our business."

The fixtures are due to be the NHL's first games outside of North America since 2019.

The NHL has not held a World Cup of Hockey since 2016, when Canada beat Team Europe in the best-of-three-games final.

Team Europe featured players from Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, France, Slovenia, Denmark, Austria and Norway.

Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic had their own teams, while under-23 players from Canada and the United States were combined to create Team North America.