The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators will play two regular-season games in Stockholm on Nov. 10 and 11 as part of the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series, the League announced Friday.
It will be the sixth time the NHL has played a regular-season game in Europe, the first time since 2011. These will be the 21st and 22nd games played in Europe, and the seventh and eighth played in Sweden.
"It's really exciting," said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was born in Stockholm. "Who thought they would have been able to play NHL games in your hometown. It'll be surreal to do that. Stockholm is such a great hockey town and a great city overall. I'll be really excited to show the boys around and show the team staff around the city."
Senators captain Erik Karlsson, who was born in Landsbro, will be playing in his country for the first time as an NHL player.
"[Landeskog is] a great guy and is from Stockholm, so it is going to be a great experience to share with him," Karlsson said. "We are good friends, and I am looking forward to playing two games against him and Colorado in Sweden, and I think that not only us being from Sweden is going to be exciting, but I think that everybody else participating on both teams are very excited and looking forward to have the opportunity to do that."
About 26 percent of NHL players this season were born outside of North America. Other Swedes playing for Colorado and Ottawa include Frederik Claesson (Senators; Stockholm), Anton Lindholm (Avalanche; Skelleftea), Carl Soderberg (Avalanche; Malmo) and Viktor Stalberg (Senators; Gothenburg).
"We have more Swedish players than ever in the NHL, and we are extremely pleased that the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series will allow us to showcase a number of those players, with their NHL teams, in their homeland," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "The return of regular-season NHL games to the international stage will provide yet another highlight for our Centennial celebration."
Video: 2017 SAP NHL Global Series scheduled for November
Ottawa was one of four NHL teams that traveled to Europe to play in the Bridgestone NHL Premiere 2008. In two games in Stockholm to open their regular season, the Senators split with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ericsson Globe.
Before the 2008 regular-season games, Ottawa played an exhibition game against Frolunda, which included Karlsson.
"It was such a long time ago; I was really young as well," Karlsson, now 26, said. "But again, I remember how much we appreciated them coming over and playing us, playing an NHL team, especially for the fans as well to see all the guys and get the opportunity to meet people you never had the chance to before.
"Even though we are not going to play a Swedish team this time ... I still think that for the Swedish fans to be up close and see everything and see how fast the game really is, I think that is going to be really important."
Colorado is making its second trip to Europe and its international regular-season debut. The Avalanche were part of the 2001 NHL Challenge Series and the defending Stanley Cup champions defeated Brynas IF of the Swedish Elite League 5-3 with a hat trick by Alex Tanguay.
Landeskog said he's excited about the chance to play against Karlsson in their home country.
"It'll be cool," Landeskog said. "I think it'll be a fun matchup. I'm sure a lot of people from Stockholm will be cheering for the Avs and a lot of people from Gothenburg will be cheering for the Sens.
"There's a great fan base for NHL hockey in Stockholm and Sweden overall, so I think the game's going to be a lot of fun."
Tickets to the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series in Stockholm will be available for purchase at LiveNation.se on Wednesday, March 29, beginning at 3 a.m. ET. The game on Friday, Nov. 10 will start at 2 p.m. ET with Colorado the home team. The game on Saturday, Nov. 11 will start at 1 p.m. ET with Ottawa the home team.
The Senators and Avalanche will be offering travel packages. More information will be published on their websites as it becomes available.
More information on the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series will be released at a later date, including broadcast information. As part of the League's six international websites, NHL.com/sv will serve as the official home for the latest news and information, as well as other features from around the NHL.