Today, the NHL announced the teams that will begin the 2010-11 season in Europe. The same two cities that participated in the Compuware NHL Premiere last season will return (Stockholm and Helsinki) as well as the return of Prague, Czech Republic.
The games will take place between October 7 and October 10. There will be one game on Oct. 7 and 10, with two games occurring on Oct. 8 and 9. Each team will play two games against each other, with one team playing host for each game. Two matchups will have an Eastern Conference team playing a team from the Western Conference, while one series will have two from the West.
Traveling to Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland Oct. 7-8 will have Carolina taking on Minnesota. Each team currently has three Finnish players on its roster with Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, and Joni Pikanen playing for the Hurricanes and captain Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, and Antti Miettinen.
Playing Oct. 8-9 at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden will have Columbus playing against San Jose. The Blue Jackets have four Swedish players in Fredrik Modin, Sammy Pahlsson, Anton Stralman, and Kristian Huselius. The Sharks are making their second overseas appearance, after they played Calgary in Tokyo, Japan in 1998. The Sharks have two Swedes, Douglas Murray and recent addition Niclas Wallin.
The Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes will travel to Prague, Czech Republic for a Oct. 9-10 series. The Bruins will play in Europe for the first time in 50 years, while the Coyotes played in Finland in 1994 when they were the Winnipeg Jets.
The Bruins’ current roster includes Czech players David Krejci, and Vladimir Sobotka. In addition, team captain Zdeno Chara hails from Slovakia. The Coyotes’ current roster has Zbynek Michalek, Petr Prucha. Martin Hanzal, Robert Lang, and Radim Vrbata.
“The Premiere Games are a highly anticipated part of our season launch, and we are extremely pleased that six teams – more than ever – will open their season in Europe,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “With these games, nearly half of our Clubs will have participated in Premiere – a testament to how excited our teams are to be playing before our outstanding fans in Europe.”