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

Just Posted

Vehicle of missing Maple Ridge man is found in Abbotsford

Barrie Holt, 63, is also known to frequent Chilliwack area

UPDATE: Vehicle located and driver arrested in relation to fatal hit-and-run

Male pedestrian in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in Abbotsford

Incumbents in Abbotsford ridings heavily outspending challengers on Facebook

Liberal Jati Sidhu, the incumbent in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, has spent the most, by far

ELECTION HUB: Candidate profiles, voter information and news for Abbotsford’s ridings

We’ve collected our election coverage in one spot to help you decide who to vote for

Cascades goal scoring king leading UFV to playoffs

Abbotsford Soccer Association product Gurmaan Jhaj establishes new goal mark

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

Most Read