(Gothenburg) Luc Tardif is optimistic about the presence of National Hockey League players at the 2026 Olympic Games.

The president of the International Ice Hockey Federation (FIHG) believes that “all the planets are well aligned” for his organization, the NHL, the NHL Players’ Association and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Tardif made the comments during the closing press conference on the sidelines of the final between hosts Sweden and the United States at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Gothenburg.

Tardif, who is a native of Trois-Rivières, responded “you can see I’m smiling” when asked about the Olympic Games in Milan and Cortina, Italy.

Tardif notably indicated that he must meet the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, at the end of the month, before meeting with the NHL and the Players’ Association during the league’s all-star game in Toronto.

The NHL participated in five Olympic Games between 1998 and 2014, but did not take part in the event in 2018 for financial reasons. The league was scheduled to travel to Beijing in 2022 before canceling due to COVID-19 concerns.

NHL players have made it clear they want to play on the sport’s biggest stage. The league promised to do everything in its power to make this happen when the collective bargaining agreement was extended in July 2020.