The NHL's ship has come in.

A cargo ship docked in Melbourne, Australia on Friday after sailing around the world carrying three 40-foot shipping containers packed with hockey equipment.

It has everything the NHL will need to build a rink indoors at Rod Laver Arena, home of the Australian Open tennis tournament, for the League's first event in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings will play preseason games in the 2023 NHL Global Series -- Melbourne on Sept. 23 and 24.

"It's pretty exciting to know that we have somewhat officially arrived in Melbourne and everything will be there waiting for us when we get on the ground," said Derek King, NHL senior director, facilities operations.


The NHL has never played so far from home before. But it has extensive experience holding events in different environments outdoors and overseas, and it decided to journey to Melbourne to grow the game after years of thought and planning.

The League has two sets of equipment to build outdoor rinks, and it packed one set into the shipping containers at its warehouse in Oakville, Ontario, in June.

The boards were last used when the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs played in the Heritage Classic at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, on March 14, 2022.

The acrylic, commonly known as the glass, is new.

The inventory included everything from pucks and nets to tools and shovels. It even included Zambonis.

"Everything that you see in an NHL building, we're going to build that in Melbourne," King said.

The shipping containers traveled by truck to Toronto and by train to Philadelphia, where they were loaded onto the Maersk Wellington, a cargo ship more than 254 meters long and more than 32 meters wide.

It departed Philadelphia on June 21; stopped in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 22-23; passed through the Panama Canal on June 30; and sailed across the equator and the Pacific Ocean. It reached Tauranga, New Zealand, on July 21-22 and stopped in Sydney on July 25-26.

Finally, it made it to Melbourne on Friday.

King received updates along the way.

"Once things got loaded onto the ship, that was kind of a bit of a relief," King said. "And then now to have things at port in Melbourne, it's pretty cool.

"I end up going through my inventory list, like, 'Oh, did I remember that? Do we have that?' It's been stressful, but at the same time exciting. We have 51 pallets of hockey equipment in those containers."

After the shipping containers clear customs, they will be stored in a warehouse. They will be brought to Rod Laver Arena when King and J.R. Boyle, NHL vice president, venue and facility operations, arrive Sept. 14.


"Just like we do for an outdoor game, we'll start unpacking and placing stuff where we need it," King said. "It'll be a busy time when we got on the ground in Melbourne."

The Coyotes and Kings arrive Sept. 18. After practicing at a local rink Sept. 18-21, they will practice at Rod Laver Arena with the retractable roof closed on Sept. 22.

"It's going to happen very quick," King said. "It's a very, very aggressive build just because of the time that we have at Rod Laver."

For outdoor games, the NHL pumps glycol from a Mobile Refrigeration Unit in a semitrailer through aluminum pans in the floor of the rink to freeze the ice.

But it didn't want to ship that system to Australia due to the wear and tear of the trip, so the League is partnering with a company from Amsterdam called Ice World, which has a different system and has made ice for hockey at Rod Laver before.

The League will put a layer of plywood over the tennis court, then lay a rubber liner and pipes. It will fill the liner with water and freeze about 1 inch of ice as a base.

After that, it will build the ice much the same way it does for an outdoor game, painting it white, laying lines and logos made of fabric, and using a spray boom to mist fine layers of water to ensure a dense, thick sheet.

"Once we get on site, it'll be exciting working with the people in Australia and Ice World," King said. "It's going to be an amazing experience, to be able to work this event in Australia, not only with the people of Melbourne and Ice World, but to be able to execute this event with the our NHL group, it's pretty special to be able to do what I do."