The Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets will play in the 2022 NHL Global Series.
There will be two exhibition games and four regular-season games played in four cities outside of North America next season, the first time the NHL has played international games since 2019.
The NHL played 32 preseason games and 28 regular-season games in Europe from 2007-11 (NHL Premiere Series) and 2017-19 (NHL Global Series).
The Predators and Sharks will open the 2022-23 season with two games at O2 Arena in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8.
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O2 Arena has hosted five NHL regular-season games since 2008, most recently Oct. 4, 2019, when the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.
“I can’t wait for the experience,” Sharks said forward Thomas Hertl, a native of Prague. “We will play in the building that I started to play pro hockey in. I used to go to watch hockey [there]. And now I’ll be [there] playing an NHL game. “
The Predators will play a preseason game against SC Bern of the Swiss National League at PostFinance Arena in Bern, Switzerland, on Oct. 3; The Sharks will play a preseason game against Eisbaren Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin on Oct. 4.
Nashville will be playing in Europe for the first time. Its lone international game was a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Oct. 6, 2000.
San Jose played two games against the Blue Jackets at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm in the 2010 NHL Premiere Series (3-2 win Oct. 8; 3-2 overtime loss Oct. 9).
The Sharks also played two games against the Calgary Flames at Yoyogi Arena in Tokyo in 1998 (3-3 tie Oct. 9; 5-3 loss Oct. 10).
The Blue Jackets and Avalanche play in Tampere, Finland, for two games at Nokia Arena on Nov. 4 and 5.
Colorado previously played two games in the 2017 NHL Global Series against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm (4-3 overtime loss Nov. 10; 4-3 loss Nov. 11).
“We had a really great experience going to Sweden a couple of years ago,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I think the League puts on an awesome event over there. We have a couple of Finnish guys in Mikko Rantanen and Artur Lehkonen and our goalie coach (Jussi Parkkila). … It’s a good trip, you get to see another part of the world so we’re looking forward to it. “
The games in Tampere will be the first two NHL regular-season games played in the city, which is the hometown of Blue Jackets forward Patrick Laine and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
“What’s different here for North American guys, they get to play in their hometowns but for Europeans it’s pretty rare that we get that opportunity, so it’s pretty sweet,” Laine said.
Tampere hosted NHL preseason games in 2009 and 2010.
Tappara Tampere defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Sept. 28, 2009 and the Minnesota Wild won 5-1 against Ilves Tampere on Oct. 4, 2010.
“I’m looking forward to showing what we can do on the ice but also looking forward to showing the players and the staff what it’s about in Tampere, and we’ll spend a few days in Helsinki as well, so it should be fun , “Kekalainen said.
Eisbaren Berlin was the home team in the preseason games against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sept. 28, 2008 (4-1 Lightning win) and against the Blackhawks on Sept. 29, 2019 (3-1 Blackhawks win).
Berlin also hosted a regular-season game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 8, 2011 (4-2 Sabres win). It hosted three exhibition games between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins in 1959 (May 19-21).
The NHL has played three preseason games at PostFinance Arena in Bern.
The Rangers played two games in Bern in 2008, defeating SC Bern 8-1 on Sept. 30 and winning 4-3 against Metallurg Magnitorgorsk of Russia’s Continental Hockey League two days later. The New Jersey Devils defeated SC Bern at PostFinance Arena 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 1, 2018.
“For guys [who have] never played in Europe, it’s a great experience, “Hertl said.” I love playing in Europe. You score a goal, the whole arena will yell your name. It’s a pretty cool experience, especially when you’re starting pro hockey. “
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell and independent correspondents Chelena Goldman and Craig Merz contributed to this report