NHL teams to play regular-season games in Stockholm and Prague


New York (AFP)

National Hockey League clubs will play four 2019-20 regular-season games in Europe, the league announced Thursday, with the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers to open their season in Prague.

The NHL 2019 Global Series contests will also see the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres face off in Stockholm on November 8-9.

Philadelphia and Chicago will complete their pre-season training camps in Europe, the Flyers in Switzerland and Blackhawks in Germany, before their season-opening meeting October 4 in the Czech Republic.

Each will have an exhibition game before their clash in Prague. The Blackhawks will face Eisbaren Berlin on September 29 while the Flyers visit Lausanne HC for a contest the next night.

Tampa Bay has already clinched the best record in the NHL this season with 57 wins and 118 points from 74 games. The other Europe-bound clubs are unlikely to reach the playoffs.

Czech players who will compete in their homeland include Chicago's David Kampf and Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek, Radko Gudas and Michal Neuvirth.

"Obviously it's something as a kid, you don't think it's possible," Voracek said. "I think it's great for us. It'll be special."

Swedes who will compete in their homeland include Buffalo's Rasmus Dahlin, Johan Larsson and Linus Ullmark plus Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman.

"It's unreal," Dahlin said. "It's awesome. I can't believe it's actually going to happen."

This will be the third consecutive year and eighth overall in which the NHL has played regular-season games in Europe and mark the North American league's 26th, 27th and 28th regular-season contests played on European ice.

The Flyers and Blackhawks will stage the fifth NHL regular-season game in the Czech Republic, all of them at Prague's O2 Arena, while the Sabres and Lightning meet in the 12th and 13th NHL games in Sweden.

The Flyers will play their first regular-season contest overseas. Chicago split two 2009 games against Florida in Finland. Buffalo won in Helsinki and Berlin in 2011 while Tampa Bay lost twice in Prague in 2008.