NHL Postpones 2020 International Games Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2020

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40), of Finland, reaches for the puck as Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (64), of Finland, and center Matt Duchene, second from right, battle for it in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association released a joint statement Friday to announce the postponement of the 2020 NHL Global Series because of the coronavirus pandemic.  

NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL

The @NHLPA and @NHL have announced the postponement of 2020 international events. https://t.co/SXDQCYpiVO

The Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators were scheduled to play games in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Switzerland next season.

Boston would have taken on German club Adler Mannheim and Nashville was going to battle Swiss side SC Bern in a pair of exhibition games before the NHL teams faced off in the Czech Republic.

Colorado and Columbus were scheduled to play back-to-back games in Finland.

Although the NHL schedule for the 2020-21 campaign hasn't been released, the contests between the Avs and Blue Jackets would have likely been regular-season games if the league used the same format as it did for 2019-20. The Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning played twice in Sweden in November.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the success of the Global Series while in Stockholm for the games between the Sabres and Bolts:

"There is a simple reason we believe that every single game that we play in Europe sells out in a matter of hours. And it's the same reason that the European game of the week with our media partners has been so successful.

"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."

November's games between Buffalo and Tampa Bay—the Lightning won both matchups by a combined score of 8-5—drew over 26,500 total fans in Sweden.

The NHL Global Series was created in 2017 after a six-year hiatus following the end of the NHL Premiere Series, which featured games in Europe from 2007 through 2011.

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