As Weed so eloquently laid out for all you slackerjacks yesterday, the NHL has already booked their October travel plans for the 2008-2009 season. Having been to Prague a few years ago, I’ll gladly apply for MYFO’s press credentials from the league when the time comes. I’m sure Gary Bettman will have no problem forking those over.
So it appears that the frontier of the future for the NHL starts with England (they speak like we speak! We’ll be able to understand them when they mispronounce Kostitsyn and Radivojevic like we do!) After that, it’s onward to two nations, Sweden and the Czech Republic, with strong hockey leagues of their own and are an excellent provider of NHL talent. After that, though, the NHL hit a bit of a wall. Because of the Superleague that threatens to retain their own players, Russia and Finland are probably out as destinations. But fear not, fans of global hockey expansion. Gary Bettman has contingencies in mind, and I think you’re going to be more than happy with the result…
NHL Plans to Open 2009-2010 season in Canada
New York, NY (MYFO) – The NHL announced over the All-Star Weekend that in addition to sending four teams to Europe next year, the league promises to open the 2009-2010 campaign with a two-game series in Montreal and Winnipeg.
Two games will be held between the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre, while the Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins are to battle in Winnipeg Arena.
The games will be held on October 3 and 4, 2009.
“It is a privilege to be able to bring our brand of world-class hockey to the citizens of Canada. Canada has long been a market that the NHL has had its eye on, and while I have no record of interest up there in our market research, this is an experiment I am willing to try once,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
“The match-up of the Hurricanes and Sharks in Montreal will showcase some of the best Canadian talent our league has to offer. Carolina has Eric Staal, a Thunder Bay native and reigning All-Star Game MVP, while the exciting Sharks boast the talents of Joe Thornton, a man who would have led your nation to an Olympic medal, had they not choked hard against Russia in the quarters.”
The move by Bettman comes as a bit of a surprise to many around the league, as it is a well-known fact that the NHL currently contains six teams that play their home games in Canada: Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, and Ottawa. Nonetheless, the league’s front office is ecstatic about this promotion.
“Just wait until you see Sidney Crosby. He is a wonderful talent and heavenly with the puck. I’ll admit – I’m a disciple of Hockey Jesus! The fans of Winnipeg are going to WORSHIP him.”
As for the people of Winnipeg, there is an outside chance that once Colorado or Pittsburgh enters the arena, they lock the doors and keep them there. FOR-EV-ER.