The NHL made three big announcements before the 2018 All-Star Game skills competition on Saturday. The NHL Board of Governors announced games in Sweden and Finland. They are also reportedly working on scheduling a two-game series played in China.
Three Overseas Games Announced at 2018 All-Star Game
The teams playing in the games are also getting a shake-up. Playing in Sweden will be the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils. In Finland, the Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers. It is also rumored that the teams headed to China would be the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins. These games are in addition to the already scheduled preseason games. The Oilers are already scheduled to play in Germany, and the Devils will play in Switzerland.
All of this is apart of an extended effort to spread hockey internationally. Gary Bettman, the league’s commissioner, has regularly emphasized how he wants to establish a worldwide fanbase. The next challenge in this field is to establish a regular calendar for international games.
“The international strategy doesn’t work without major events, whether it’s exhibition games against local clubs, preseason games, regular-season games, clinics and the like. That’s something that we do in conjunction with the Players’ Association, and that’s something we’re in discussions with them on and working on. But our hope is to establish a regular predictable calendar,” Bettman said.
2019 NHL All-Star Game
The league also announced the host of next year’s All-Star game. The league’s returning to the warm weather and headed to San Jose for next year. The game will take place the weekend of Jan. 25, 2019, with the actual All-Star game being played on Jan. 27, 2019.