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NHL likely to play more games in Europe in upcoming seasons

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Prague — The NHL could bring more games to Europe in the future and play some games in the second half of the season, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Friday.

The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks kicked off the NHL regular season at the O2 Arena in Prague on Friday as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. They Predators here on Saturday he completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory.

These were the NHL’s first regular season games held outside of North America since 2019. This is because the league was unable to play abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re excited to be back, and especially excited to be back in Prague,” Daly said. “It’s such a beautiful city with wonderfully warm people. love.”

[RELATED: More NHL Global Series coverage]

The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets will play November 4-5 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. These would be his 37th and his 38th games the NHL has held outside of North America since 1997.

NHL regular season games abroad were always held in September or October until 2017, when the league first played in Europe in November. He returned to Europe in November for 2018 and 2019 for the league.

Daley said he believes the league will do something similar in the short term, but that could change later.

“Our club has a regular season and we have to work with them,” Daly said. “But it could extend that period and bring more games to Europe in the second half of the season.”

The NHL plans to continue showcasing teams in Europe rather than base them here.

“In the short term, I don’t think we’re going to have a team here permanently or have a team in Europe,” Daley said. We believe it has helped us connect and experience the players that these countries produce, which is very positive for us, our brand and our business.”

Asked about the future of matches in the Czech Republic, Daly said nothing had been decided about matches in Europe next season.

“This is an NHL-sized arena,” says Daly. “There is a great passion for the sport in general in Prague and the Czech Republic, which makes it a very attractive option for us. .”

Daly said hockey’s World Cup remains a work in progress. The NHL said Friday that he will meet Alois Hadamczyk, the new president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association, and will meet with other officials about his cup at Worlds over the next few days.

“It is still our intention to aim for the tournament in February of 2024,” said Daly. “We’re working on the details of what it will look like.”

The NHL expects eight nations to participate in the tournament.

“The question is whether we can have qualifying tournaments to win the last spot, whether it’s two spots or three spots,” Daly says. “That’s one of the things we’re discussing as part of the details.”

Russia did not participate in today’s tournament due to the war in Ukraine. The NHL will continue to monitor the situation.

“We understand there is some discomfort, and by including the Russian team at this time, we share that discomfort,” Daley said.