The league announced Wednesday the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames will face off in two exhibition games in China, Sept. 15 in Shenzhen and Sept. 19 in the capital Beijing.
The city of Shenzhen shares a border with Hong Kong, part of one of the most populous Metropolis’ in the world.
With the Winter Olympics coming to Beijing in 2022, the NHL is hopeful that China’s investments in sports can include plenty of business for the NHL with increased awareness and excitement for ice hockey.
The games between the Bruins and Flames will be part of the 2018 O.R.G. NHL China Games. The Flames will play host at Shenzhen, with the Bruins to be considered the home team at Beijing.
“The Boston Bruins are excited to be part of the 2018 NHL International Games in China,” Bruins president Cam Neely told CBS Boston. “Over the past three years we have collaborated with Mr. Zhou Yunjie, the Chairman of ORG Packaging, on growing the game both within the Chinese community in Boston and with youth hockey players in China.
“We look forward to continuing these efforts by bringing Bruins hockey to China with these two preseason games.”
With a population over 1.3 billion, the Chinese government is trying to have 300 million engaged in winter sports before the Olympics begin, and the NHL is trying to get engaged on a grass-roots level.
“I think this is going to be a great experience for our guys,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving told NHL.com. “This is a great opportunity for us to experience a different culture while showcasing our league and our product.
The next question is whether NHL players will participate in Beijing in 2022 after commissioner Gary Bettman decided the league’s players should skip the 2018 Olympic games in Korea.
–Field Level Media