NHL approves Stockholm for season openers

NHL approves Stockholm for season openers
The National Hockey League will open the 2008-09 season with games in the Czech Republic and Sweden, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Saturday.

The Ottawa Senators, featuring Swedish star Daniel Alfredsson will square off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm while the Tampa Bay Lightning will face the New York Rangers in Prague.

The teams will play each other twice, with games taking place on October 4 and 5.

The contests also will be played at different times to create a doubleheader for television viewers.

Each of the four teams also will play pre-season games in Europe.

“It is a delight to bring our game to more of our great international fans,” Bettman said.

“We’ve been in Stockholm many times before, including for the World Cup in 1996 and 2004,” he added.

“I think it’ll be pretty fun just to go away as a team,” Senators centre Jason Spezza said. “It’s a good way of growing the game globally and I think it’ll be a pretty fun time.”