NHL News: Canucks could play in Australia this fall; Toronto to host 2024 All-Star weekend
Photo credit:Bob Martin for SailGP. Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould9 months ago
As Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and the rest of Team Pacific prepared to take on Team Central at the All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held his typical pre-event press conference and revealed Toronto to be the site of the 2024 NHL All-Star Game.
Toronto has previously hosted the event eight times, most recently in 2000 (which marked the first time it was held at the Air Canada Centre, now called Scotiabank Arena). The city was also the site of the very first unofficial All-Star Game back in 1934, held as a benefit event for injured Maple Leafs forward Ace Bailey.
This year’s All-Star event is currently underway in Sunrise, FL, with the skills competition having taken place on Friday evening and the 3-on-3 tournament slated to begin at 12:00 p.m. PT on Saturday. Vancouver has hosted the All-Star Game twice: at Pacific Coliseum, in 1977; at Rogers Arena (then known as GM Place), in 1998.
It’s been more than a decade since the All-Star Game was last held in Canada, with Ottawa performing the hosting duties back in 2012. However, if recent reports are to be believed, the NHL may soon stage meaningful games outside North America altogether.
The NHL Global Series isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. The tradition of playing overseas games dates all the way back to 1938, when the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens toured England and France for a series of nine exhibition games following the conclusion of the 1937–38 regular season.
More recently, NHL teams have taken to ice surfaces in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, Czechia, Sweden, Russia, and China. But later this year, the Canucks might be part of a contingent to introduce NHL hockey to an entirely different market altogether — one down under.
The Fourth Period‘s David Pagnotta indicated Saturday “it’s all but a lock” the NHL will hold games in Australia to kick off the 2023–24 regular season, mentioning the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins as possible participants.
Irfaan Gaffar subsequently chimed in to make it clear the Canucks are also among the teams being considered to take part.
The Canucks have a long, storied history of playing games overseas. In 1997, the Canucks split a two-game series against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Tokyo, Japan; three years later, the Canucks took on Swedish teams Djurgården and MoDo in exhibition contests held in Stockholm.
Then, in 2017, the Canucks and Los Angeles Kings contested a pair of friendly matches as part of the inaugural NHL China Series, taking to ice surfaces in Shanghai and Beijing. The Kings won both games.
For now, the Canucks — save for Pettersson — are in the midst of the 2023 NHL All-Star Break. They’ll return to action on Feb. 6 when they visit Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
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