The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings are headed to China for a pair of preseason games. The two clubs will meet for a pair of games — Thursday, September 21 in Shanghai and Saturday, September 23 in Beijing.
They’ll be joined by a quartet of NHL officials overseeing the matches.
Referees Dean Morton and Justin St. Pierre, along with linesmen Darren Gibbs and Vaughan Rody, made the 13-hour trip from the West Coast to officiate the 2017 China Games.
From the NHL:
Bringing preseason games to China is a piece of the National Hockey League’s long-term business strategy in China, and with a population of more than 1.3 billion, China is committed to hockey and expects to expand its participation in all winter sports to 300 million people by 2022. The NHL looks to work side by side with sports bureaus across China in developing grassroots hockey programs, supporting local youth hockey and hockey development at all levels. The NHL’s China-based partner, Bloomage International Culture & Sports Development Co., also will play a vital role in helping to promote hockey culture across various regions of the country, supporting the League and its youth hockey initiatives. The League will look to develop programs to provide schools with training and instructional content to implement these impactful hockey programs that promote physical education, sportsmanship, teamwork and fitness through participation in hockey.
Since announcing the 2017 NHL China Games presented by O.R.G. Packaging in March, the NHL has been active in promoting hockey with various programs throughout China, aiming to let more people experience the game. Last week in Beijing, the U.S. Embassy hosted “Hockey Night,” where representatives from the NHL educated attendees with a basic knowledge of hockey, the NHL has hosted seven clinics in several major cities in China this summer including Beijing, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Shenyang, where nearly 250 youth players have participated. The coaches at the clinics teach the skills of the game, while also focusing on fitness, health and teamwork that inspires student interest in hockey.
Besides the youth program, the NHL also added Chinese elements to its traditional Player Media Tour in New York earlier this month. During the NHL/NHLPA Player Media Tour, more than 30 NHL star players including Tanner Pearson of the Kings and Christopher Tanev of the Canucks greeted fans across China in Chinese for the first time through the NHL’s official Chinese social media platforms including, Weibo and WeChat. They also tried mooncakes and participated in the entertaining “Hockey Puck Challenge,” stacking hockey pucks in 30 seconds with chopsticks.
Both games will be broadcast on NHL Network.