NHL hoping to return to Sweden – NHL.com

TORONTO — The NHL has preliminary plans to play overseas next season and is trying to finalize them with the NHL Players’ Association. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the sooner the NHL makes commitments and arrangements, the better the events.

“So we’re anxious to get going,” Commissioner Bettman said at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference and Trade Show on Monday. “But I know the Players’ Association has a responsibility to the players and has some work to do, and we respect that process.”

The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators played in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday and Saturday, after the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played preseason games in Shanghai on Sept. 21 and Beijing on Sept. 23, the NHL’s first games in China.

“I thought the response of the Swedish marketplace generally was off the charts,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said during a panel discussion at the conference. “It was the best we’ve had there. … It marked kind of the return of what we hope will be a more aggressive international growth strategy.”

Video: Watch the time-lapse of Game 2 of the Global Series

The NHL played 26 regular-season games outside North America from 1997-2011 in Tokyo; Saitama, Japan; London; Prague; Helsinki; and Berlin. This was the NHL’s first visit to Stockholm since 2011. Each game drew a sellout crowd of 13,396.

“We didn’t have tickets to give out,” Daly said. “It was a lot of excitement, clearly a difference palpably in the city in terms of the attention the games got vs. games we’ve played there previously, even with teams that had Swedish stars.”

One difference this time: There have been 320 Sweden-born players to get into an NHL game to this point, including 81 this season, “far and away the most we’ve had from a

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