Blackhawks, Flyers to open 2019-20 season in Prague

Reuters

The NHL announced on Thursday that the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will open the 2019-20 season in Prague, Czech Republic, on Oct. 4.

Both teams will train in Europe before playing a couple of exhibition games there, which will include the Blackhawks facing off against Eisbären Berlin -- a team in Germany's top league -- on Sept. 29 in Berlin, and the Flyers facing Lausanne HC on Sept. 30 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The NHL teams' season opener will be played in Prague's O2 Arena, where the 2008-09 league opener between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning was held.

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The Flyers are making their European debut but the Blackhawks played in Europe in 2009, when they went 1-1 against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland, to start a season in which they defeated the Flyers to claim the Stanley Cup.

The Flyers' Jakub Voracek, who grew up in Kladno, 20 miles west of Prague, and represented the Czech Republic in international competition at the junior and senior levels, is looking forward to playing again in his home country.

"Obviously, it's something as a kid, you don't think it's possible," Voracek said on nhl.com. "But with the way the NHL is going, I think it's great for us. To see all the friends and family, being able to attend an NHL game you can participate in, it'll be special. It's going to be exciting. I think everyone's pretty pumped up for Prague."

The NHL also announced that the Buffalo Sabres will face the Lightning in a two-game series in Stockholm, Sweden, on Nov. 8-9 as part of the 2019 NHL Global Series Challenge.

--Field Level Media

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