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Stockholm to host NHL opener
Former Shark Nils Ekman falls into the goal against the Blue Jackets, 2004

Stockholm to host NHL opener

Published: 10 Feb 2010 09:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2010 09:26 GMT+01:00

The next season of the National Hockey League will start with six games played in three European cities - Stockholm, Helsinki and Prague, the organisers of the Prague games said on Tuesday.

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild will clash in Helsinki on October 7th and 8th, and the Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks will meet in Stockholm on October 8th and 9th.

The Boston Bruins will then take on the Phoenix Coyotes in Prague on October 9th and 10th, Miroslav Cernosek, the owner of the Czech organiser company Ceska sportovni, told reporters.

All three cities have already hosted the NHL opening games, just like London, where the tradition of opening the season in Europe started in 2007.

"We are extremely pleased that six teams - more than ever - will open their season in Europe," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

"With these games, nearly half of our clubs will have participated (in overseas openers), a testament to how excited our teams are to be playing before our outstanding fans in Europe."

The teams in question include players from the countries they will visit.

The Blue Jackets' current roster includes four players from Sweden: forwards Fredrik Modin, Samuel Påhlsson and Kristian Huselius and defenseman Anton Strålman.

San Jose has Swedish defenseman Douglas Murray and recently acquired Niclas Wallin.

Modin, Påhlsson and Murray will represent the defending Olympic champions at the upcoming Vancouver Games.

"Having the chance to play these games is going to be special, especially for me and the other Swedish players," Påhlsson said.

"It is really going to be great for fans in Sweden to be able to watch the NHL in person."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:16 February 10, 2010 by ccnyberg
Wohooo!!! Im so getting tickets. Thank You to the Local for the brilliant news.
13:37 February 10, 2010 by bravedave
This is going to rule!
16:49 February 10, 2010 by NCHarleyHardtail
Yes seems exciting! Also seems like the NHL is test marketing your audience over there for maybe a bigger league? The KHL is coming on strong now and seem to have lots of money to throw around. Seems a few of the NHL teams are having trouble here financially due to the lack of jobs. I would love to talk with people over in your county about how the Hockey scene is there. Tanks! WNCPuckDrop@Twitter
18:35 February 10, 2010 by Decedo
Bettman has been the downfall of the NHL!

Nice little publicity stunt, but if it is leading to future expansion, then god help the NHL. The NHL does not belong in Europe, just like the failure in the southern US market (Florida, Tamp Bay, Carolina, Phoenix, etc.). Do you really think Europe would pay game prices like Canada and the US? I just saw a Frolunda game for 210 sek, I also used to have Canucks season tickets a few years ago in the nose bleed for $100 per seat. Would the average Swede pay that much for a game? The league talent with 30 teams is diluted enough.
19:30 February 10, 2010 by canam
@Decado - I don't think it's about bringing teams here and to expand into Europe. I'm thinking it's more like the NFL's plan. Grow the base in order to start mass braodcasting and merchandise sales. Having teams based here couldn't happen, but buying NHL/NFL junk here makes a lot of sense and could
21:18 February 10, 2010 by dizzymoe33
I think it is exciting news for Europe.
23:44 February 10, 2010 by homestead
@Decedo,

If the NHL did expand over here, I doubt they would have the exact same cost and pay structure as in N. America. It would probably be scaled down (both salaries and ticket prices) to what the market would bear. Besides, after paying $20 for a basic car wash today (and double for beef and lots of other things), the NHL prices don't seem so bad any more.

Go Pens!!!
03:01 February 11, 2010 by repat_xpat
Too cool! It felt like we (Sweden) won the Stanly Cup when the Red Wings won -- since most of the starters were Swedes :)

Sweden loves the NHL and the NHL loves Sweden. We need more good relationships between Sweden and the USA.
08:19 February 11, 2010 by Decedo
@Homestead

If there wasn't parity, then it wouldn't be a level playing field. Besides, if a player had a chance to make 8 mill a year in Toronto, or 3.5 mill a year in Stockholm, which do you think he'll choose? It would create a 2 tier (or 3 tier) league. Europe would essentially be an expanded farm team system. What do Pens tickets go for? Ironically the Pens were near bankruptcy just before they won the Crosby lottery

@canam

It would be nice if that was Bettman's plan, but two years ago he remarked about 'exploring different markets' during an interview following a japanese hockey games.
10:47 February 11, 2010 by Malmoman
Decedo,

You got ripped off. I can go see a Bruins game for 250 Kr. Student nights are 180 Kr....Family section etc...

I went and saw a playoff game a few years ago (Montreal) and paid 75 for nosebleeds. Could see the game fine though. You have to pay to see the best talent in the world. No offense to the Swedish league but I would rather see BC-BU in the beanpot. At least as competitive as Allsvenskan and the tix are very cheap.

If you want to make a fair comparison about level of play then compare the ticket prices with the AHL.

I like the Swedish league though. We have a great arena here in Malmö....Granted it is Allsvenskan and sometimes sloppy...Nothing like seeing the owner walk around though and talk to the fans.

I definitely don't want to see the NHL in Sweden though.
11:19 February 11, 2010 by SarahRF
I am going to buy tickets for the Sharks game for sure!!! My boyfriend is a HUGE Sharks fan, and on his yearly trip home to California from Stockholm he usually tries to catch every game he can. Now he can begin early! And he's always saying he'll take me to a game, but I think this time I'll take him. He's going to be bouncing up and down like a little boy on Christmas morning, hahahahaha!
12:03 February 11, 2010 by Rick Methven
You can keep the NHL in North America and NHL rip-off prices. I pay $14 for the best seat in our Stadium to watch our top of league Eliteserien Team. The NHL players we had playing in Sweden during the lockout a few years ago, where nothing special. In Sweden we play hockey. In North America it is the old story of:

I went to fight last night and all of sudden some hockey broke out. LOL
12:59 February 11, 2010 by Zoolander428
@Rick - yes, there is more fighting in the NHL... but if you think the level of hockey being played is lower than in the Swedish leagues, you're delusional.

I went to the game in Stockholm this past year, and it was great. Highly recommend it for any hockey fan, especially if your team is one that's coming over. Being a Redwings fan, it was a real experience being able to watch them play live in Stockholm.
13:08 February 11, 2010 by Malmoman
Rick,

I do like Swedish hockey but it is impossible to compare the NHL to Eliteserien. I went to many Bruins games without fights and I have actually seen one fight in Malmö (I have been here maybe 10 times). Did see lots of fights at the Flyers games though. I do meet quite a few hockey aficionados in Sweden who prefer the NHL game. They usually talk about the smaller rink and how it changes the game. I also prefer the smaller rink. I guess it is a matter of taste. Some people don't like seafood.

If you are a real hockey fan it really is hard to not prefer the NHL. The passing is much more precise and the play is more physical. Sometimes Eliteserien looks a little too much like an Albany River Rats (sometimes it is quite alright). Again this might have to do with the rink.

The US players barely had a chance to get acclimated here. I would not say they stunk it up either. It was a mixed bag. It is hard to drop a guy in a game, with a new team, a new rink, and expect him to score 40 goals. The Swedish game is COMPLETELY different with its own nuances.
18:40 February 11, 2010 by NCHarleyHardtail
I have to say I really as an American appreciate talking and getting thoughts from you all. I agree with many of the Points. I saw the Albany River Rats Comment . Little Up Date they are coming here to Charlotte ,NC which will be much more cost effective. I agree about the Bruins comment to I am origonally From Rye, New Hampshire just North of Boston Mass. So I grew up a Bruins fan and a Hartford Whalers fan now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. A Note about the Canes. They have done a brilliant marketing job. I went to the Bruins Canes series games 3 and 4 last spring. Canes have tailgating that starts about 2 pm in the afternoon and the Fans are from all over some are transplants like myself and many like my wife are home grown here in North Carolina. I too agree the NHL is facing some issues. The NHL was almost destroyed 2 times once by Alan Eaglson. I reffer you to the Book" Game Misconduct". Author Russ Conway. And his 9 yr investigation into the Corruption of Eagleson. Then the Lockout in 2005. I noticed ESPN who did not want to take a chance with the NHL coverage after the lockout. Now there is renewed interest in Hockey ESPN360.com is Broadcasting KHL games online. They covered the KHL All- Star Game. But I do have a theory there is some kind of bigger leaugue or competion on more International level. I have fellow Musician friend from the US that lives in Sweden he has invited us over. But being a Disable Veteran money is bit tight to get over to you country . I would love to come over though !! On twitter I go by wncpuckdrop@Twitter. Thank you for letting me have the privilage of engaging in conversation with you all!!
20:40 February 11, 2010 by Malmoman
Hej NCHarleyHardtail,

Welcome!

I think the KHL is a great league. They have a little ways to go and their teams are BLEEDING money worse than the NHL. Anyways the talent is there.

I appreciate your comment. It is not often you meet someone who knows about the River Rats.

Anyways I am sorry you are disabled. My father served during the Korean war so I can imagine it has been tough. I wish you the best.

Anyways if you get a chance to come to Sweden take it (flights run about 700 bucks). It is a beautiful country that opens your eyes in so many ways. There are many wonderful people here (both Swedish and non Swedish!).
18:27 February 12, 2010 by NCHarleyHardtail
thanks Looks like the River rats will take the current team name there as well the Checkers LOL Keep the River Rats name not sure on those details yet. Yeah Well Disabled but I get out and get around. that is reasonable money for a trip over and back. Hope to stay in touch with you all here in this forum! talk soon!!!
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