NHL Takes Significant Steps Forward With International Play

NHL Takes Significant Steps Forward With International Play

30 Aug 2018 | Fredrik Pålsson

The 2018-2019 season marks a significant step forward for NHL hockey.


The league has scheduled a return to China for preseason matches and several regular season games will be played in Europe in the 2018-19 NHL Season.

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According to NHL commissioner. Gary Bettman on NHL.com, adding international events to the calendar isn’t just to increase the league’s global fan-base and worldwide sponsorships and advertising agreements, but to encourage the development of world-class players. The NHL needs to be more present with clinics, exhibitions against local teams, games, and events. And like the NFL which regularly plays in Mexico and England, Bettman is trying to establish a “regular, predictable calendar.”

The 2018 preseason games in China have yet to be settled. The matches will be presented by O.R.G. Packaging, but that is about all we know so far. Which teams will play and in what cities is still undecided, but they are trying to reach agreements for the Calgary Flames to play the Boston Bruins. Germany and Switzerland will get a taste of preseason action as well with the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils.

International Regular Season Games

Sweden and Finland are the two stops for the NHL in the 2018-2019 season. This makes strategic sense as a great starting point because both great countries have injected a lot of talent into the North American league over the years. Over 500 players have entered the NHL from these two countries alone. So, it makes sense to foster talent and curate the relationship between the organisation and the region.

Edmonton Oilers vs. New Jersey Devils in Göteborg

The Oilers and the Devils will play their season openers at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden on October 6th. This is exciting. It is the first regular season game for each team, so it is fantastic that the NHL players association agreed to play this game away from their respective home stadiums.

Neither of these teams is expected to win their division this year. The Devils are in a tough division with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals—the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2017, and the Capitals won in 2018. The Oilers have it a little easier in the Pacific division. They are tied for 3rd on the NHL odds-boards to win the Pacific but have the San Jose Sharks and Las Vegas Golden Knights standing in their way. That said, this is going to be a fun game to watch as each of these teams is going to be vying for the opportunity to win their season opener in the international spotlight.

Florida Panthers vs. Winnipeg Jets in Helsinki

The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets will face-off on November 1st and 2nd at Hartwell Arena in Helsinki, Finland. Finnish stars, Aleksander Barkov and Patrik Laine, will be going head-to-head in their homeland, so this match will be one to not to miss. This is a treat for Finnish fans who can make it to Hartwell Arena and for those around the world watching on television or streaming online.

Beyond the excitement of two of Finland’s most well-known players facing off, the Winnipeg Jets are resurging, they have had a fantastic offseason of signings and are expected to compete to win the NHL Central division. This two-game series in Helsinki is a must watch for hockey fans around the world.

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