NHL books 2020 regular-season games in Helsinki, Prague

Boston's David Krejci, a Czech Republic native, could play in his homeland next season as the NHL announced Friday that the Bruins will play Nashville in Prague to open the 2020-21 season (AFP Photo/Kathryn Riley)
Boston's David Krejci, a Czech Republic native, could play in his homeland next season as the NHL announced Friday that the Bruins will play Nashville in Prague to open the 2020-21 season (AFP Photo/Kathryn Riley)

New York (AFP) - The Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators will open the 2020-21 National Hockey League season in Prague while Colorado and Columbus meet twice in Helsinki next season, the league announced Friday.

Exact dates for the game in Prague's O2 Arena and two games at Helsinki's Hartwall Arena will be announced later.

The NHL will also stage pre-season games in Germany and Switzerland in 2020, with the Bruins and Predators finishing pre-season training in Europe.

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The Bruins will visit Adler Mannheim for a pre-season game in Germany while the Predators face SC Bern in Switzerland before their games against the Bruins.

"There's a simple reason we believe that every single game that we play in Europe sells out in a matter of hours," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

"Hockey is truly a global game and hockey fans in Europe obviously love the game, and we love the fact that they love the game, which is why we keep coming back."

"No matter where fans are watching, there is a worldwide recognition of the incredible speed and skill and talent that's on display in today's NHL."

After games Friday and Saturday in Stockholm between Buffalo and Tampa Bay, the NHL will have played 28 regular-season contests in Europe.

The NHL's 2020 Global series will be the fourth consecutive season and ninth overall to feature NHL regular-season games in Europe.

The Bruins have two players born in the Czech Republic -- forwards David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

The Predators have two players who were born in Switzerland -- defenseman Roman Josi and Yannick Weber.

The Colorado Avalanche have two players born in Finland -- forwards Joonas Donskoi and Mikko Rantanen.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have two Finnish-born players -- goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Markus Nutivaara.

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