The Philadelphia Flyers, in conjunction with the National Hockey League, announced today that the team will participate in the2019 NHL Global Series this September and October. The Flyers will complete their 2019 Training Camp in Lausanne, Switzerland and will play an exhibition game against Lausanne HC on Monday, September 30 at Vaudoise Arena. They will then head to the Czech Republic, where they will face the Chicago Blackhawks on October 4 at O2 Arena in Prague in the first game of the regular season. The games will be the first in the franchise's history, regular season or otherwise, to be played outside of North America.
"The Philadelphia Flyers are proud to be playing in the 2019 NHL Global Series," said Flyers president Paul Holmgren. "This is truly a historic moment for the organization as we take our hockey club overseas for the very first time. Throughout our history we have had a number of players from many different countries worldwide call Philadelphia home. Now, we are excited to have this opportunity to represent the Flyers on the international stage, and we look forward to opening the 2019-20 season against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague."
The season opener will mark an opportunity for Jake Voracek, Radko Gudas and Michal Neuvirth to play in their home country of the Czech Republic. Voracek and Gudas both hail from Kladno, which is just outside of Prague, while Neuvirth was born in Usti nad Labem, which is roughly 55 miles north of the capital.
"Obviously it's something that as a kid, you don't think it's possible," Voracek said. "But with the way the NHL is going, I think it's great for us to see all the friends and family, being able to attend an NHL game you can participate in. It'll be special. It's going to be exciting. I think everyone's pretty pumped up for Prague."
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Gudas said. "There was one game in Czech a lot of years back and it had a really good [feel], people really loved it and I believe the Czech people deserve an NHL game. The people are going to love it and it's going to be a big deal for us."
The Flyers have played international opponents before, but never outside of Philadelphia. The organization hosted several teams from the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia over a 15-year span that began with the team's legendary win over CSKA Moscow, also known as the Soviet Red Army team, in January of 1976. The most recent matchup between the Flyers and a non-NHL team was a game against Dynamo Moscow at the Spectrum on January 10, 1991.
Lausanne HC was founded in 1922 and is a member of the Swiss National League, the highest professional league in Switzerland. The Flyers will be helping Lausanne open up Vaudoise Arena, which is a brand-new, 10,000-seat facility that is currently wrapping up construction and is scheduled to open this summer.
Tickets to the October 4 game in Prague will go on sale to the public beginning on Wednesday, March 27, while tickets to the game in Switzerland will go on sale beginning Wednesday, April 10. Fans can register their interest in tickets and gain access to pre-sale information and more by signing up for NHL Inside the Crease.