New York, NY (September 20, 2007) – The National Hockey League (NHL) will celebrate another landmark moment just nine days from today when the Los Angeles Kings and Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks play the League’s first regular-season games in Europe. In cooperation with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the most international of the North American professional sports leagues will open its 2007-08 season with the two-game Premiere Series at spectacular The O2 Arena in London, England.
“Our commitment to grow the game globally has never been stronger,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly. “The NHL is extremely proud to be represented in London by two great hockey organizations in the Ducks and Kings as well as to be making NHL history at such a fantastic facility.”
After three successful Game One events in Japan (1997, 1998 & 2000), NHL Premiere will mark the first time the NHL will play regular-season games in Europe. The home-and-home series, which has been sold out for months, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 5:00 p.m. (GMT) and Sunday, Sept. 30, at 5:00 p.m. (GMT). A complete NHL history overseas is available on media.nhl.com.
The first game of the season on Saturday will be televised live in Canada by the CBC and by HDNet and FSN West live in the U.S. Also in the U.S., NHL Center Ice, the League’s digital subscription programming package of NHL regular season and select playoff games, and NHL Center Ice Online, the League’s out-of-market online subscription package, are offering the game as part of their free preview periods. The Sunday game is being televised live in the U.S. by Versus and on the NHL Network. The NHL Premiere Series will be televised in 115 countries.
“This is a historic and exciting event for the Kings, the NHL and The O2 Arena,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, who in addition to serving as Kings Governor serves as President & CEO for AEG, the parent company of the Kings and owners and operators of The O2. “Everybody associated with the Kings and AEG is thrilled with the unique opportunity to take our team and the great game of hockey overseas. There could not be a better venue than The O2 to host such an event. The Kings-Ducks rivalry has been a lot of fun for many years in Southern California. The NHL Premiere Series in England takes it to an unprecedented level.”
“This a great honor for us, to be chosen to play in the NHL’s first regular-season games in Europe,” said Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. “Showcasing a great rivalry between two clubs from the Southern California market will be terrific for the NHL.”