Folks, it sure sounds like the Calgary Flames will be headed overseas in the fall.
Last month, it was reported that the Flames might be headed to China or Europe. Following today’s National Hockey League Board of Governor meetings in Tampa Bay, reports are that the Flames will be playing the Boston Bruins in a pair of preseason games in China – pending a few outstanding issues being resolved between the league and the players’ association.
NJ will play exhibition game in Switzerland; EDM in Germany. Teams in consideration for China are BOS & CAL https://t.co/3r2jtaZ8Tx
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 27, 2018
The NHL’s 2018-19 international calendar reportedly includes:
- Calgary vs. Boston in China during the preseason in mid-September
- New Jersey vs. Edmonton in Sweden for a regular season game (preceded by exhibition games in Switzerland for the Devils and Germany for the Oilers) in October
- Florida vs. Winnipeg in Finland for a pair of regular season games in November
It’s the second time NHL clubs have gone to China, following Los Angeles and Vancouver playing preseason games last September. Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics and the thought is that the NHL is trying to gain a foothold in the market prior to those Olympics. (The Flames previously went to Tokyo, Japan in 1998 following the Nagano Olympics.)
The Flames have played seven preseason games over each of the past few seasons: four home and three away, usually beginning with a home-and-home against the Edmonton Oilers. The trip to China will likely lob off a home and away date from the domestic calendar and, like what the Canucks and Kings experienced, see the team send a veteran-laden group to China to sell the game while keeping a younger crew in Canada to get extra exhibition reps.