NHL looking at playing games in Australia

As the NHL gets set to resume its Global Series early next month, the league will be moving ahead with a process to determine whether it will play games in Australia in the coming years.

“Some time over the next week or two, the NHL is going to be having a site survey in Australia,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada’s 32 Thoughts segment. “It’s nothing firm, but I do believe the league is looking at playing a couple of games there.”

The NHL has held games outside of North America since 1938, when Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens played a series of games in the United Kingdom. Over the eight decades since, the league has sent its teams to suit up in arenas throughout Europe and Asia, covering 15 countries over that span.

The 2022 Global Series has thus far seen the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks travel to Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic for games. On Nov. 4–5, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche will conclude the series with a pair of games at Tampere, Finland’s Nokia Arena.

The NHL has one Australian player among its 32 teams — St. Louis Blues forward Nathan Walker, who was born in Wales but grew up in Sydney, before becoming the first Australian to be drafted to the NHL (in 2014), and the first to play in the league (with the Washington Capitals, in 2017).

Per Friedman, potential NHL games in Australia would likely take place in early 2023, or 2024.

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