In November, just an hour before the puck was set to drop in Stockholm, Sweden, for the conclusion of the 2019 Global Series, the NHL had announced the 2020 version.
Now, with the global COVID-19 pandemic still keeping sports on pause, the NHL and the Players' Association announced on April 8 the postponement of the 2020 Global Series.
"The NHLPA and the NHL remain committed to maintaining and growing our international presence," the statement read. "We hope that our fans overseas understand the need to postpone the 2020 games, but we look forward to being back with them in 2021."
The Global Series was to feature the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets. It would have marked the fourth consecutive season, and ninth overall, that the NHL was play games overseas. Boston and Colorado would have met in the Czech Republic for the NHL's sixth regular-season game. Nashville and Columbus were to square off in Helsinki, Finland, playing in the eighth and ninth regular-season games in the country.
“We are disappointed by the postponement of our trip to Finland, but look forward to having the opportunity to play in front of Finland’s passionate hockey fans in the future,” said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in the team's press release. Kekalainen is a native of Kuopio, Finland and the league’s first European-born general manager.
Games in Europe are nothing new to Boston, Colorado and Columbus, all of which have played regular-season games in Europe. When the games do occur, they hope to have better results, as they've combined for a 2-3-1 record. Nashville split two regular-season games in Japan with Pittsburgh in 2000 and will be making its European debut.
What were the dates and times of the 2020 Global Series?
The dates were not officially announced, but the Bruins and Predators were expected to play in September 2020, which is generally when training camp ends. Nashville and Columbus will meet later in the fall for a two-game series.
Where was the Global Series set to be played?
Boston and Nashville were to wrap up training camps in Europe before facing off and kickstarting their 2020-21 NHL regular seasons at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Before meeting up in Praha, the Bruins were to train in Mannheim, Germany, and take on Adler Mannheim at SAP Arena in an exhibition game. The Predators were set to head to Bern, Switzerland, and play SC Bern at PostFinance Arena.
The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets were going play their games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
Who are the players from Finland, Czech Republic and Switzerland?
Switzerland: Roman Josi (Predators), Yannick Weber (Predators)
Czech Republic: David Krejci (Bruins), David Pastrnak (Bruins)
Finland: Mikko Rantanen (Avalanche), Joonas Donskoi (Avalanche), Markus Nutivaara (Blue Jackets), Joonas Korpisalo (Blue Jackets)
What did the players say about the Global Series when it was originally announced?
David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins): “I was very excited to learn that the Boston Bruins would be heading back to my home country to play in the 2020 NHL Global Series in Prague. I remember driving to O2 Arena as a kid to go see the Bruins play the Coyotes back in 2010 for the NHL Premiere games. The passionate fans and atmosphere were something I’ll never forget – I can’t wait to feel that energy again from the ice in Prague and Mannheim.”
Roman Josi (Nashville Predators): "It means a lot for our entire organization to get the opportunity to play games in the Czech Republic and Switzerland,” Josi said. “We are proud of what our franchise has accomplished over the past couple seasons and now are lucky enough to play in not only the Winter Classic, but in the Global Series too. We are all honored that we get the chance to play in Europe and everyone on the team is excited for the opportunity.
“It’s really great for myself and Yannick to get to play a game in Bern. Before coming to North America, Bern was the only team I had ever played for growing up, and I watched them play when I was little. I grew up five minutes away from their rink and it’s my hometown club – it’s going to be so special for me, and I can’t wait for the game.”
David Krejci (Boston Bruins): “Opening the season in Prague and Northern Ireland back in 2010 was a very special experience to share with my family, friends and teammates. It was the start of a year I’ll always remember. Growing up in Czech, it was my dream to play in the NHL so to be able to play in more NHL games in Europe means a lot to me personally. I think it’s great the League continues to grow the game and bring hockey to different countries all over the world.”
Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus Blue Jackets general manager): “The Columbus Blue Jackets are proud and excited to be participating in next year’s NHL Global Series in our 20th season as a member of the National Hockey League. It means a great deal to me personally, knowing how passionate Finnish hockey fans are, to be a part of bringing our team to the place where my NHL dreams began as a young hockey player.”
Which teams have played in previous Global Series?
Nov. 9, 2019
Buffalo Sabres 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 5
Nov. 8, 2019
Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Buffalo Sabres 2
Oct. 4, 2019
Philadelphia Flyers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Prague, Czech Republic
Nov. 2, 2018
Florida Panthers 4, Winnipeg Jets 2
Nov. 1, 2018
Winnipeg Jets 4, Florida Panthers 2
Oct. 6, 2018
New Jersey Devils 5, Edmonton Oilers 2
Nov. 11, 2017
Ottawa Senators 4, Colorado Avalanche 3
Nov. 10, 2017
Ottawa Senators 4, Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT)