HASH(0xb41358)

NHL staging preseason games in China between Kings, Canucks

NHL staging preseason games in China between Kings, Canucks

BEIJING — The NHL will play its first games in China this fall when the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks meet in Beijing and Shanghai.

The preseason games will take place Sept. 21 in Shanghai and Sept. 23 in Beijing. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the launch of the NHL China Games at a news conference Thursday morning at Le Sports Center.

China is expected to be a large focus of the league’s international ventures. Next season, the NHL is playing two regular-season games in Sweden between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.

Bettman called it a historic moment for the league and said the NHL’s commitment to China goes beyond the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. He and other league officials have said it’s a long-term arrangement with China that also includes contributions to growing grassroots hockey in the country.

“While we fully understand the priority the government has placed on high-level performance by the sports teams representing China at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games here in Beijing, our commitment to the growth of hockey in China involves partnerships that will extend well beyond the few weeks of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games themselves,” Bettman said. “This is the beginning of what we believe will be a very long-term relationship, and the two NHL clubs participating in this inaugural effort are perfectly suited for their roles.”

NHL Players’ Association special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider said players have reached out to him to express interest in going to China and helping teach the game there. The Canucks, Kings, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals have already conducted camps for young Chinese players.

“Right here in China, the NHLPA and the NHL have an amazing opportunity to grow the game of hockey,” Schneider said. “It is clear from our meetings with various officials in China that they share the same passion to grow the game of hockey as we do.”

The NHL has not committed to sending players to the 2018 Olympics in neighbouring Pyeongchang, South Korea. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel has said the NHL can’t pick and choose which Olympics to go to and that discussions about Beijing can wait until the situation in South Korea is settled.

China is a focus for the league with help from the Chinese government and the private sector, led by Zhou Yunjie, the goaltender-turned-billionaire chairman of metal can manufacturing company ORG Packaging.

“We’ll play our best part in unlocking the potential of ice hockey and pushing on the arrival of the golden era of ice hockey in China, thus realizing the vision of 300 million people on ice as reality and making China a new and uprising ice hockey power,” Zhou said.

The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

‘Unusual smell in water’ not a health concern, says City of Abbotsford

Odour is just temporary due to treatment-plant maintenance, city says

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

Man charged with hit-and-run that killed pedestrian in Abbotsford

Man in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in October 2019

Fraser Valley Bandits reflect on 2020 turnaround

Abbotsford-based CEBL team goes from worst to almost first at Summer Series

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Driver maces pedestrian after hit and run in Langley City

Police were on the scene at Michaud Crescent Wednesday morning

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Most Read