Hockey Night in Australia: NHL to play games Down Under next season

Apr 12 2023, 12:43 am

The NHL is headed Down Under.

Melbourne, Australia will host the first-ever games played in the Southern Hemisphere, the league announced today. The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes will play a pair of preseason games September 23 and 24 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park, the home of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Though the NHL has played many preseason and regular season games in Europe before, it has rarely visited other continents outside of North America. The league has played regular season games in Japan, in 1997, 1998, and 2000, as well as preseason games in China in 2017 and 2018.

“We are delighted to bring the excitement and passion of the National Hockey League to the dynamic city of Melbourne and the great sports fans of Australia with the 2023 Global Series games,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are two of our League’s rising young teams and among our most innovative and adventurous franchises. We look forward to their two games at Rod Laver Arena and know this history-making visit will thrill our many avid fans in Australia and cause so many more throughout the sports-loving nation to be captivated by our great game.”

This will be the longest road trip in NHL history, as Melbourne is a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles.

“Nowhere does major events like Melbourne and that’s why we are able to attract the biggest sporting spectacles from around the globe,” Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said. “Securing the NHL’s first ever games in the Southern Hemisphere is not only a win for fans but will deliver big benefits for tourism businesses in our city. These games will also promote Melbourne to millions of potential visitors watching through global broadcasts.”

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