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Global Series

Global Series expected to return to Europe next season

Germany, Switzerland, Prague, Stockholm among sites of proposed games

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

HELSINKI -- The NHL has tentative plans to visit Prague, Stockholm, Germany and Switzerland next season as part of its Global Series, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Thursday.

Teams and dates have yet to be finalized.

"We're in the planning stages of playing preseason games in Germany and Switzerland," Commissioner Bettman said. "We're looking at playing a season-opening game in Prague and then two games in November in Stockholm.

"Again, it's all in the planning board. They're not official. I don't have dates, I don't have teams, but that's what's on the drawing board as we speak."

Commissioner Bettman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly were in Finland for the conclusion of the 2018 NHL Global Series for games between the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers at Hartwall Arena on Thursday and Friday that sold out in less than five minutes. The NHL Global Series made previous stops this season in Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.

The games Thursday and Friday will be the 30th and 31st regular-season games to be played outside North America. The NHL has played regular-season games outside North America in six countries and eight cities, including the New Jersey Devils' 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Oct. 6.

"The hockey countries in Europe have done a fantastic job developing hockey players, great hockey players," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "We have a lot in the National Hockey League."

"And we're grateful to have them," Commissioner Bettman added. "We think it makes the game better, stronger and more widely viewed from an international perspective."

Although there are no plans for the NHL to return to Finland next season, Commissioner Bettman believes it will be back in the coming years. These two games will be the sixth and seventh in Finland, all at Hartwall Arena.

"Maybe we should be planning more than a year in advance, but I view us coming back on a regular basis, having a consistent presence," Commissioner Bettman said. "If we don't do games next year, maybe the year after."

The total attendance for the League's 29 regular-season games to date at venues outside North America is 386,818, an average of 13,339 per game.

"Our return to playing regular-season games in Europe these past seasons has been a fantastic success," Commissioner Bettman said. "We couldn't be more pleased."

Deputy Commissioner Daly addressed the ongoing investigation with former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Oct. 21, 2014 after being charged with domestic violence and has since applied to be reinstated. 

"Mr. Voynov has applied for consideration of reinstatement," Deputy Commissioner Daly said. "We're in the process of what will be a fairly comprehensive investigation, a factual investigation into the events surrounding initially his arrest and his ultimate departure from North America. 

"I'm not in a position to give a timeline on that investigation. When that investigation is done, the Commissioner will deal with his application for reinstatement."

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