Gary Bettman: NHL to go worldwide again with revival of Global Series

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at NHL All-Star weekend Feb. 4, 2022, in Las Vegas.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league’s Global Series will return next season with preseason games in Germany and Switzerland, followed by regular-season games in Finland and the Czech Republic.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
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The NHL is ready to go worldwide again after two years of coronavirus restrictions and a missed Olympics.

Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday that the NHL Global Series will return next season with preseason games in Germany and Switzerland, followed by regular-season games in Finland and the Czech Republic.

The NHL also is engaged in discussions with the players on reviving the World Cup of Hockey for a possible 2024 return, the commissioner said before the All-Star weekend’s skills competition at T-Mobile Arena.


“Internationally for us is a no-brainer,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “We had established momentum in terms of having a greater and more regular presence of games in Europe. I think with the pandemic waning and hopefully a return to normalcy, it only makes sense to restart those efforts and to further them. It’s important for us.”

Victor Hedman won the Hardest Shot competition and Jordan Kyrou was the Fastest Skater during an NHL All-Star skills competition with a Vegas flavor.

Feb. 4, 2022

Bettman also said Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz won’t be disciplined or sanctioned for his angry, volatile reaction to questions from reporters this week.

Wirtz later said he reacted poorly to questions about what the organization was doing to address the power dynamic between players and coaches in light of the accusations made by Kyle Beach, who says he was sexually assaulted by the Blackhawks’ former video coach a decade ago.

“This has been very emotional and frustrating and draining for the Blackhawks and Rocky in particular,” Bettman said. “I think it was an emotional moment, which Rocky promptly — on his own — apologized for. I think this was just, you know, all of us at one time or another have a moment. And this was a moment.”

Longtime NHL player and front-office executive Pat Verbeek has been hired as the Ducks’ general manager. He replaces Bob Murray, who resigned Nov. 10.

Feb. 3, 2022

In his usual All-Star weekend roundup of the NHL’s upcoming schedule of major events, Bettman announced that the Florida Panthers will host the 2023 All-Star Weekend two decades after the event first visited the Miami area. The 2021 weekend was scheduled for Florida before it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next Winter Classic will be at Boston’s Fenway Park, while the Carolina Hurricanes will get their first Stadium Series outdoor home game at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium next season.


Bettman said the NHL still intends to hold the draft with fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre on July 7-8, but the event could be moved or held virtually if local coronavirus restrictions haven’t been lifted by then.

He said the NHL also will have to consider allowing Canadian teams to play elsewhere if they still are unable to host crowds in the near future. The Canadiens currently are limited to 500 fans for at least the next two weeks.

Movement was very much on Bettman’s mind as he evaluated the NHL’s position after this two-year stretch of postponed games and restricted crowds throughout North America.

But Bettman and the NHL remain confident the Arizona Coyotes won’t have to leave the Phoenix area despite the latest setback in their many years of arena woes. The commissioner confirmed the Coyotes are considering playing in Arizona State’s unfinished, 5,000-seat hockey arena after their deal to play in the much-maligned Gila River Arena in Glendale ends this summer.

“There has to be a temporary accommodation knowing that a new arena is coming,” Bettman said about the possibility of moving to the university rink that will open in the fall.

Phillip Danault scored twice, and the L.A. Kings finished off a six-game trip with a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Feb. 2, 2022

Despite reports of some owners being annoyed by the Coyotes’ desperate plan to play in a tiny rink for at least five seasons, Bettman said the NHL feels confident Arizona could be financially competitive in a smaller venue.


“We’re not sure there’s going to be a material difference between their revenues at ASU than where they are in Glendale,” Bettman said. “In fact, on one projection that we’ve done, we think they may do better.”

Bettman also took a shot at the NBA’s Phoenix Suns for their unwillingness to share Footprint Center.

“My guess is they would prefer that the Coyotes leave town,” Bettman said.