Prior to opening the 2011-12 season in Stockholm, Sweden, the Rangers will return to the Czech Republic to play a special exhibition game against HC Sparta Prague at TESLA Arena in Prague on Thursday, Sept. 29.
The game, which is part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge, will give the Rangers their second taste of Prague in a span of three years. The Blueshirts opened the 2008-09 season there with a pair of games against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Prague's O2 Arena. Those games drew capacity crowds and were big news in Prague, as the Blueshirts won both games over Tampa Bay by a 2-1 score.
|Brandon Dubinsky and many of his current Rangers teammates got a first-hand view of Prague in 2008 and will have an opportunity to play there again. |
One of the most popular teams in the Czech Republic, HC Sparta Prague not only has over 100 years of hockey tradition, but the club is a perennial contender in the highest levels of the Czech Extraliga.
"The New York Rangers are excited to have the opportunity to face off against one of the most storied franchises in Europe, in HC Sparta Prague, in an exhibition match as we prepare for the 2011-12 NHL season," said Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather. "Having already played in Prague, Czech Republic, we are fully aware of the passion that the city's and country's fans have for the game of hockey, and we look forward to experiencing their enthusiasm firsthand, once again."
The Rangers will open their 2011-12 regular season by playing two games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Oct. 7 against the Los Angeles Kings and Saturday, Oct. 8 against the Anaheim Ducks.
The 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere marks a record fifth consecutive season the NHL will be playing regular-season games in Europe. NHL teams will play a total of four games in three different European capital cities –- Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki –- from Oct. 7-8, 2011. Last year, six NHL teams – the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks – opened the 2010-11 NHL regular season by playing six games in Europe. The Bruins and Coyotes met twice in Prague.
By the end of 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere, 17 NHL teams –- over half of the NHL –- will have played regular-season -and exhibition games in Europe since 2007.