Put down your Molson and pick up a Fosters. Hockey is headed down under this week.
The NHL is set to play its first games ever in Australia, as the Kings and Coyotes travel to Melbourne to play in two preseason games as a part of the 2023 NHL Global Series.
Australia isn’t one of the first countries that come to mind when you think of hockey. Currently, Blues forward Nathan Walker is the only Aussie in the league, however, Kings prospect Jordan Spence, who lived in Australia until he was 13, is another candidate to break into the league and represent the outback.
However, that doesn’t mean that Aussies aren’t crazy for hockey. The sport is growing in the country, and the NHL is doing its part to bring some of the best players in the world to Australia so that the citizens can get a first-hand experience of NHL hockey.
Here is what fans need to know about the 2023 NHL Global Series in Australia.
Why is the NHL playing games in Australia?
The NHL preseason games taking place in Melbourne this weekend are a part of the 2023 NHL Global Series, an international series of games that take place in both the preseason and the regular season.
This marks not only the first time an NHL game will be played in Australia, but the first ever league contest taking place in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to David Proper, the NHL’s senior executive vice president of media and international strategy, bringing games down under have been on the league’s radar for a number of years now.
“I would say for the last, at least, eight years, we’ve kind of kept an eye on it,” Proper said. “The numbers just continue to increase. We’re starting to significantly over-index in Australia across most or all of our metrics. And it just feels like it’s the right opportunity.”
What is the NHL Global Series?
The NHL Global Series is an opportunity for the league to bring its product overseas to other countries. While the Global Series has traditionally been held in a variety of European cities
The league has been playing games internationally since the NHL started back in the early 1900s, but the Global Series was only recently added to the slate. This year marks the fifth edition of the international series.
In addition to the two preseason games in Melbourne, the league will be traveling across the pond to Sweden this year for four regular season games. The Maple Leafs, Senators, Red Wings and Wild are all scheduled to play two games each at Avicii Arena in Stockholm.
When are NHL Global Series Australia games?
- Dates: Saturday, Sept. 23 | Sunday, Sept. 24
- Time: 12:05 a.m. ET | 2:05 p.m. local time
The 2023 NHL Global Series games in Melbourne are set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24.
Due to the time difference, the games will be played at a bit after midnight ET in the United States, while the games will be held at 2:05 p.m. local time in Melbourne. Both contest are scheduled for 12:05 a.m. ET.
How to watch the NHL Global Series Australia games
- TV Channel: NHL Network | Sportsnet (Canada)
- Live stream: Fubo, ESPN+ | Sportsnet+ (Canada)
For fans in the United States that are itching for NHL action, the NHL Network will be airing the two preseason games in Australia.
In terms of streaming options, viewers in the United States can watch through the NHL Network through Fubo, which offers a free trial. In addition, ESPN+ is another streaming option to watch the international games.
The Canadian audience will be able to watch the games live on Sportnet, or can stream through Sportsnet+.
Where are NHL Global Series Australia games being played?
- Venue: Rod Laver Arena
- City: Melbourne, Australia
The venue for the Kings vs, Coyotes exhibition matches is a well-known venue — just not necessarily in the hockey world.
The Global Series games in Australia are set to be played at Rod Laver Arena, the home of tennis’ Australian Open. The venue is a multi-purpose facility, used for tennis, basketball, swimming and other sports.
This marks the first time that Rod Laver Arena will host a hockey game. Because the facility was not suited for an ice rink, the NHL had to ship out equipment on a freighter this summer to Australia. Included in the shipment was everything from the boards of the rink to Zambonis.
Past NHL Global Series games
This is the fifth year that NHL has put on an NHL Global Series event and first time the league is playing in Australia.
2017 NHL Global Series
|Nov. 10||Stockholm, Sweden||Ericsson Globe||Senators 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)|
|No. 11||Stockholm, Sweden||Ericsson Globe||Senators 4, Avalanche 3|
2018 NHL Global Series
|Oct. 1||Bern, Switzerland||PostFinance Arena||Devils 3, SC Bern 2 (OT)|
|Oct. 3||Cologne, Germany||Lanxess Arena||Oilers 4, Kolner Haie 3 (OT).|
|Oct. 6||Gothenburg, Sweden||Scandinavium||Devils 5, Oilers 2|
|Nov. 1||Helsinki, Finland||Hartwell Arena||Jets 4, Panthers 2|
|Nov. 2||Helsinki, Finland||Hartwell Arena||Panthers 4, Jets 2|
2019 NHL Global Series
|Sept. 29||Berlin, Germany||Mercedes-Benz Arena||Blackhawks 3, Eisbaren Berlin 1|
|Sept. 30||Lausanne, Switzerland||Vaudoise Arena||Lausanne HC 4, Flyers 3|
|Oct. 4||Prague, Czech Republic||O2 Arena||Flyers 4, Blackhawks 3|
|Nov. 8||Stockholm, Sweden||Ericsson Globe||Lightning 3, Sabres 2|
|Nov. 9||Stockholm, Sweden||Ericsson Globe||Lightning 5, Sabres 3|
2022 NHL Global Series
|Oct. 3||Bern, Switzerland||PostFinance Arena||Predators 4, SC Bern 3|
|Oct. 4||Berlin, Germany||Mercedes-Benz Arena||Sharks 3, Eisbaren Berlin 1|
|Oct. 7.||Prague, Czech Republic||O2 Arena||Predators 4, Sharks 1|
|Oct. 8||Prague, Czech Republic||O2 Arena||Predators 3, Sharks 2|
|Nov. 8||Tampere, Finland||Nokia Arena||Avalanche 6, Blue Jackets 3|
|Nov. 9||Tampere, Finland||Nokia Arena||Avalanche 5, Blue Jackets 1|
Source : ESPN.com