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NHL international news, notes & stats

Tuesday, 02.09.2010 / 5:40 PM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere


The NHL is a truly global League with approximately 25% of NHL players born outside of North America.  A record six NHL teams will open the 2010-11 NHL regular-season with games in Europe.  The 2010-11 season will be the fourth consecutive year the NHL has hosted regular-season games overseas.

• The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks will open the 2010-2011 NHL regular season in Europe.

• The Hurricanes and Wild will play two regular-season games against each other at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday, Oct. 7 and Friday, Oct. 8. 

• The Blue Jackets and Sharks will square off for two games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9. 

• The Bruins and Coyotes will play each other at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10.

The 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere games are a signature event for the League, our players and our fans, as playing regular-season games overseas is an excellent way to further engage the passionate NHL fan base in Europe and encourage the growth of the game of hockey.

• The six NHL teams playing regular-season games in Europe next season currently have 19 players who are scheduled to return to their native countries.

• The roster of the Carolina Hurricanes currently is comprised of two members of the Finnish Olympic roster, Tuomo Ruutu and Joni Pitkanen, as well as 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff standout Jussi Jokinen.  

• The Wild boast three Finnish Olympians of their own in captain Mikko Koivu, All-Star goalie Niklas Backstrom and right wing Antti Miettinen.

• Both the Hurricanes and the Wild will be making their debut outside North America.

• The Blue Jackets will be making their first European appearance in franchise history when they play in Stockholm.

• Columbus has two Swedish Olympians, Fredrik Modin and Sammy Pahlsson, and two other Swedish players in defenseman Anton Stralman and left wing Kristian Huselius.

• The Sharks return overseas for the first time since 1998, where they played a two game series against the Flames in Tokyo.

• Sharks defenseman and Swedish Olympian Douglas Murray is originally from the Stockholm district of Bromma, and newly-acquired Niclas Wallin is also from Sweden.

• The Bruins return to Europe for the first time in 50 years.

• The Bruins roster includes David Krejci, who will represent the Czech Republic in the Olympics, and Vladimir Sobotka.

• The Coyotes roster boasts Czech Olympian Zbynek Michalek and countrymen Petr Prucha, Martin Hanzal, Robert Lang and Radim Vrbata.

Of note:

• Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are typically the top ranked countries in terms of overseas visitors to NHL.com. 

Country NHL.com Visitors (Oct-Dec '09) % of Pop Share % of Internet Pop share
Finland 276,322 5.3% 6.3%
Sweden 183,742 2% 2.3%
Czech Rep. 118,240 1.2% 2%

• A higher percentage of overseas visitors consume video, and also watch more videos per visitor than their North American counterparts.
Country NHL.com Visitors (Oct-Dec '09) % who started a video Videos started per watcher
Finland 276,322 42% 8.7
Sweden 183,742 34% 7.5
Czech Rep. 118,240 31% 5.7


As of Opening Day for the current 2009-2010 season, 25% of NHL players hailed from outside North America.   Sweden, the Czech Republic and Finland are the have the highest representation of players in the NHL for all non-North American countries.  The following are the top seven countries represented in the NHL.  This does NOT include players with non-roster injured status at the beginning of the season.

Country Players Percent Of League
Canada 389 54.2%
United States 142 19.8%
Sweden 45 6.3%
Czech Rep. 40 5.6%
Finland 32 4.5%
Russia 25 3.5%
Slovakia 12 1.7%

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres