The National Hockey League officially announced today that the Detroit Red Wings will open the 2009-10 regular season in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Red Wings will face the St. Louis Blues in a pair of games at Ericsson Globe Arena on October 2 and 3.
Stockholm hosted two matches between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators last fall. Prague, Czech Republic, hosted the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lighting. In 2007 the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks met in London.
Helsinki, Finland, will host it’s first NHL Premiere event as the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will meet there on the same dates.
“The NHL Premiere games are a signature event for the League, our players and our fans,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Playing regular-season games overseas is an excellent way to further engage the passionate NHL fan base in Europe and encourage the growth of the game of hockey.”
“We’ve got a great fan base over there and it would be wonderful to play there,” Swede Henrik Zetterberg said. “The Cup was almost two weeks in Sweden, so Red Wings are big in Sweden, so I think they will be really happy if we can come there.”
“It’s something I’m really excited about and looking forward to,” Wings’ captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “Same with my teammates, too, they’re all looking forward to it, too, to get a chance to play overseas. I was hoping it was going to happen sooner or later, and I’m happy about the opportunity to play back home.”