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Chris Johnston: NHL to open European office by 2015, More NHL Games in Europe?

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Old
07-20-2013, 10:13 PM
  #1
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Chris Johnston: NHL to open European office by 2015, More NHL Games in Europe?

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/j...the-beginning/

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The rebirth of the World Cup tournament for 2015 is also on the horizon, as are expanded forays into Europe by the NHL. Those will include more regular-season games on that continent along with the expansion of the Victoria Cup concept, which pits NHL teams against the champions of European leagues. In fact, the NHL is so committed to growing its product internationally that it plans to open a staffed European office by the end of 2013, according to a source.
...

In recent years, it has launched native language websites and hopes to eventually have live game distribution available across all devices in Europe.
The contentious labour negotiations last year also included a hint of what was to come. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr repeatedly mentioned the need to explore more opportunities in Europe and the new collective bargaining agreement mandates that every NHL team must make at least one trip overseas before it expires.

The live game distribution in Europe has been promised for a long time now, but not sure how much better it is today. Our European readers can perhaps update us.

Secondly, interesting to note that every NHL team has to make one trip to Europe before the current CBA expires. Not sure if it was the teams themselves controlling who gets to go.

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07-20-2013, 11:19 PM
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They didn't have one before?

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07-20-2013, 11:27 PM
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I am thrilled with this news. I am 100% in favour of almost all forms of European competition. The only thing I will not stomach is the Stanley Cup being awarded to anyone outside of North America. I would view it as akin to Barcelona winning the FA Cup. I definitely want to see the Cup winners play the European champs though.

And how about something like sending an NHL or AHL team to the Spengler Cup? I like bringing back the Victoria Cup, but the NHL said similar stuff about committing to european hockey before that tourney died after only a few years of existence.

And the World Cup has the potential to be amazing. I have been on this for a while, but a tournament structured with one group per continent, and then a final round that alternates continents, where you can market a championship game that you can host in Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Munich, New York, or Beijing. I think it will work much better than the Olympics, in terms of international exposure because they get to control it, and no matter where you put it, hockey fans will travel to see it (as long as it is truly best on best).

I have been waiting for the leafs to travel overseas for a while now. I think they would be a really big draw if they opened the season in Europe.

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07-20-2013, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
They didn't have one before?

I would guess this would be something that would oversee European commercialization and merchandising (brand marketing, basically) for the league. It might be easier to handle the greater number of NHL games planned in Europe if you had an European-based operation.

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07-21-2013, 12:45 AM
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They need to work on branching outside hockey's European safety zone... play more games in places like London and Germany (major hubs for European travellers as well as American tourists) or in smaller cities like Dublin where the novelty might draw significant interest (it's worked for college football). Playing games in Prague and Stockholm is a nice start, but it's not building to anything. Those Swedes and Finns will be there in London and Munich all the same.

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07-21-2013, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
They need to work on branching outside hockey's European safety zone... in smaller cities like Dublin where the novelty might draw significant interest (it's worked for college football).
Broadcaster Setanta did (based in Dublin) broadcast NHL games in Ireland for some-time (still do I believe). Despite the difficulties with Setanta in the UK, has done quite well for itself. Broadcasting throughout Ireland, Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia-Brunei) & Australia, with Canadian based Rogers Spotsworld as well. In fact, I think Setanta owned like 20% of Rogers at one time but sold it.


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07-21-2013, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
They need to work on branching outside hockey's European safety zone... play more games in places like London and Germany (major hubs for European travellers as well as American tourists) or in smaller cities like Dublin where the novelty might draw significant interest (it's worked for college football). Playing games in Prague and Stockholm is a nice start, but it's not building to anything. Those Swedes and Finns will be there in London and Munich all the same.
I think the idea isn't about growing the game, but getting hockey fans in those locations to start following the NHL instead of their local leagues.

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07-21-2013, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
They didn't have one before?
Ya... This was sort of my first thought as well.

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Originally Posted by Pilky01 View Post
I am thrilled with this news. I am 100% in favour of almost all forms of European competition. The only thing I will not stomach is the Stanley Cup being awarded to anyone outside of North America. I would view it as akin to Barcelona winning the FA Cup. I definitely want to see the Cup winners play the European champs though.

And how about something like sending an NHL or AHL team to the Spengler Cup? I like bringing back the Victoria Cup, but the NHL said similar stuff about committing to european hockey before that tourney died after only a few years of existence
Pretty much agree with this. I look at the the lack of cooperation and collaboration betweem the various leagues, federation and sanctioning bodies and just see a whole lot of lost opportunity.

Despite all the things working against hockey it still has a nice 'global niche' (souless corporate buzzword alert... I should try to work in 'synergy' somewhere as well) on at least the same level as sports like Rugby & Cricket. The people in power should do a better job exploiting what they already have and try to grow things from there.

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Originally Posted by Pilky01 View Post
And the World Cup has the potential to be amazing. I have been on this for a while, but a tournament structured with one group per continent, and then a final round that alternates continents, where you can market a championship game that you can host in Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Munich, New York, or Beijing. I think it will work much better than the Olympics, in terms of international exposure because they get to control it, and no matter where you put it, hockey fans will travel to see it (as long as it is truly best on best).
IMHO if you want the World Cup to live up to its full potentially it can't be a tournament that is controlled exclusively by the NHL. For a number of reasons the tournament has had trouble generating interest and credibility outside of Canada. I think one way to help the tournament establish itself as a 'big deal' outside Canada is to have other bodies be involved as equal parties in the running of the tournament.

I think it would be a huge step back for international hockey if the Olympics do go away entirely and the World Cup, as it has been run in the past, is the replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
They need to work on branching outside hockey's European safety zone... play more games in places like London and Germany (major hubs for European travellers as well as American tourists) or in smaller cities like Dublin where the novelty might draw significant interest (it's worked for college football). Playing games in Prague and Stockholm is a nice start, but it's not building to anything. Those Swedes and Finns will be there in London and Munich all the same.
I could be wrong but I was under the impression that the games in Europe where run by independent promoters who paid the NHL an up front fee to host the games. So basically if some dude in Lisbon or Instanbul waved enough money in front of the NHL the league would be more than happy to ship a few random teams across the Atlantic to play a couple of games. If this is the case the NHL should look at having a more focused long term plan for these European games.

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Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
I think the idea isn't about growing the game, but getting hockey fans in those locations to start following the NHL instead of their local leagues.
If that really is/was the NHL's goal than perhaps they really are morons. Follow the NHL in addition to their local leagues sure, but to get European fans to follow the NHL and drop their local league doesn't sound like a particularly realistic or smart goal.


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07-21-2013, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilky01 View Post
I am thrilled with this news. I am 100% in favour of almost all forms of European competition. The only thing I will not stomach is the Stanley Cup being awarded to anyone outside of North America. I would view it as akin to Barcelona winning the FA Cup. I definitely want to see the Cup winners play the European champs though.
So, you want to turn the Stanley Cup into a second rate trophy. No way.

Quote:
And how about something like sending an NHL or AHL team to the Spengler Cup? I like bringing back the Victoria Cup, but the NHL said similar stuff about committing to european hockey before that tourney died after only a few years of existence.
Why would you want to interrupt a team's season just so they can go play in a stupid exhibition tourney?

Quote:
And the World Cup has the potential to be amazing. I have been on this for a while, but a tournament structured with one group per continent, and then a final round that alternates continents, where you can market a championship game that you can host in Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Munich, New York, or Beijing. I think it will work much better than the Olympics, in terms of international exposure because they get to control it, and no matter where you put it, hockey fans will travel to see it (as long as it is truly best on best).
I still don't understood the desire to watch phony teams play international hockey. I'd like to see kind of real national teams that do nothing but represent their countries. If a player wants to represent their country, they can play for their country's national team. If they want to further their professional career and compete for the Stanley Cup, they can play in the NHL. I see no reason for players to do both. And if I owned any kind of a company, the last thing I would want would be for my players to go off and do their job for someone else for nothing -- especially when it could threaten their ability to do their job for me.


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I have been waiting for the leafs to travel overseas for a while now. I think they would be a really big draw if they opened the season in Europe.
It seems like an unnecessary distraction for the team to me. But I suspect it is unlikely to happen, because it would cost too much for the league to buy a Leafs home game making the European game less profitable.

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07-21-2013, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CoolForumNamePending View Post
I think it would be a huge step back for international hockey if the Olympics do go away entirely and the World Cup, as it has been run in the past, is the replacement.
Well, I suspect there would still be hockey in the Olympics. It just wouldn't feature NHL players. Which would be a good thing in my mind.

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I could be wrong but I was under the impression that the games in Europe where run by independent promoters who paid the NHL an up front fee to host the games. So basically if some dude in Lisbon or Instanbul waved enough money in front of the NHL the league would be more than happy to ship a few random teams across the Atlantic to play a couple of games. If this is the case the NHL should look at having a more focused long term plan for these European games.
I suspect that the NHL hires the promoters to run the games, but I could be wrong. I do know that when the NHL sends a pair of teams to play in Europe, they "buy" a home game from each team, based on the average revenue that team pulls in.

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If that really is/was the NHL's goal than perhaps they really are morons. Follow the NHL in addition to their local leagues sure, but to get European fans to follow the NHL and drop their local league doesn't sound like a particularly realistic or smart goal.
I suspect the NHL's goal is get European fans to follow the NHL and don't care whether they continue to follow their local leagues or not. Of course, the ideal situation for the NHL is for the fan to spend all his sports money on the NHL, but you don't always get the ideal situation.

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07-21-2013, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Broadcaster Setanta did (based in Dublin) broadcast NHL games in Ireland for some-time (still do I believe). Despite the difficulties with Setanta in the UK, has done quite well for itself. Broadcasting throughout Ireland, Asia (Hong Kong, Malaysia-Brunei) & Australia, with Canadian based Rogers Spotsworld as well. In fact, I think Setanta owned like 20% of Rogers at one time but sold it.
For the last WHC I remember watching a stream of one of the games from a English/GB broadcaster. There was no colour commentatory, just the play-by-play, and the dude I'm sure is a good football announcer but had no idea what he was doing with a hockey game . Even when I found a TSN stream I still stuck to the Brit feed just for the novelty factor.

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07-21-2013, 04:05 AM
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I think the idea isn't about growing the game, but getting hockey fans in those locations to start following the NHL instead of their local leagues.
Yep. And that's why I don't like it.

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07-21-2013, 12:35 PM
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Ya... This was sort of my first thought as well.



Pretty much agree with this. I look at the the lack of cooperation and collaboration betweem the various leagues, federation and sanctioning bodies and just see a whole lot of lost opportunity.

Despite all the things working against hockey it still has a nice 'global niche' (souless corporate buzzword alert... I should try to work in 'synergy' somewhere as well) on at least the same level as sports like Rugby & Cricket. The people in power should do a better job exploiting what they already have and try to grow things from there.



IMHO if you want the World Cup to live up to its full potentially it can't be a tournament that is controlled exclusively by the NHL. For a number of reasons the tournament has had trouble generating interest and credibility outside of Canada. I think one way to help the tournament establish itself as a 'big deal' outside Canada is to have other bodies be involved as equal parties in the running of the tournament.

I think it would be a huge step back for international hockey if the Olympics do go away entirely and the World Cup, as it has been run in the past, is the replacement.




I could be wrong but I was under the impression that the games in Europe where run by independent promoters who paid the NHL an up front fee to host the games. So basically if some dude in Lisbon or Instanbul waved enough money in front of the NHL the league would be more than happy to ship a few random teams across the Atlantic to play a couple of games. If this is the case the NHL should look at having a more focused long term plan for these European games.



If that really is/was the NHL's goal than perhaps they really are morons. Follow the NHL in addition to their local leagues sure, but to get European fans to follow the NHL and drop their local league doesn't sound like a particularly realistic or smart goal.
Yep. I like the idea of the World Cup, but only if it's not the blatant NHL show trying to pander to North Americans. Victoria Cup would be awesome too if the NHL actually sent the SC champ.

Right now though, these plans only sound like something thats to the NHL's gain and not the sport's gain. Since I'm not a shareholder, I could care less about the NHL's bottom line.

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07-21-2013, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rojac View Post
So, you want to turn the Stanley Cup into a second rate trophy. No way.
Pretty spot on. No thank you.

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It seems like an unnecessary distraction for the team to me. But I suspect it is unlikely to happen, because it would cost too much for the league to buy a Leafs home game making the European game less profitable.
Given the apparent mandate that every team must play overseas once during the current CBA, I'd think that the league may have worked out some generic formula for their compensation for giving up a home game, or made that the cost to each team for going once. Will have to check the CBA to see if there are details.

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Originally Posted by cutchemist42 View Post
Yep. I like the idea of the World Cup, but only if it's not the blatant NHL show trying to pander to North Americans. Victoria Cup would be awesome too if the NHL actually sent the SC champ.

Right now though, these plans only sound like something thats to the NHL's gain and not the sport's gain. Since I'm not a shareholder, I could care less about the NHL's bottom line.
The Stanley Cup is already one of the most grueling championships in the world of pro sports, capping off an 82 game season, injuries galore, and then the NHL should demote that status to a championship against teams that don't have nearly the same schedule nor level of competition? Absolutely not.

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07-21-2013, 01:06 PM
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If its still a preseason game, I really don't see the harm in the Victoria Cup. It's really no different than the Charity Shield in soccer, nobody actually considers it a major trophy

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07-21-2013, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RandV View Post
For the last WHC I remember watching a stream of one of the games from a English/GB broadcaster. There was no colour commentatory, just the play-by-play, and the dude I'm sure is a good football announcer but had no idea what he was doing with a hockey game . Even when I found a TSN stream I still stuck to the Brit feed just for the novelty factor.
Ya. A lot of ex-pat Canadians & Americans, along with Brits, the Irish & Scottish, those familiar with hockey do get either extremely annoyed with or a charge out of the on-air play-play commentators. Its pretty hilarious. The games are often squeezed in between say Rugby and Football (soccer) and air mid-afternoon, so if your in a pub and they have it on or will put it on for you if you ask, generally great debate over "volume or no volume, music or these idiots"?. Music usually wins. Picture, no sound plz. Cant take it. One time I was in a pub somewhere over there, Playoffs, dont know what got into the play x play guy, but he pulled that Soccer dealeo with GOOOOOOOOOOOAL. Totally loses it. Like its 1966 at Wembley, 100,000 people going insane as Geoff Hurst scores a Hat Trick over West Germany to win the World Cup. Man I was in stitches. It was like the 2nd round, couple of no hoper teams, 1st or 2nd period, who the Hell cares? All kinds of time left on the clock.

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07-21-2013, 01:26 PM
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I still don't understood the desire to watch phony teams play international hockey. I'd like to see kind of real national teams that do nothing but represent their countries. If a player wants to represent their country, they can play for their country's national team. If they want to further their professional career and compete for the Stanley Cup, they can play in the NHL. I see no reason for players to do both.

And if I owned any kind of a company, the last thing I would want would be for my players to go off and do their job for someone else for nothing -- especially when it could threaten their ability to do their job for me.
A, how many games/tournys a year do you think that 'team' would play? B how would that team pay the players? When Team Canada stepped onto the ice in Vancouver against the USA... do you not think those were two of the best teams possible? Look, I love the world juniors. But watching NHL teams, loaded with my favorite players makes it an easy sell. Especially when these players are some of the best in the world. This is why the IIHF wants the NHL players so bad. Plus the IIHF stands to make millions off of the NHL players coming to the games.

As for being an owner who would not allow/want his players going... good luck with that. The Olympics isn't the NHL going, we're making money or whatever, so we'll go. It's the players going "we want to go". Your job as an owner is to keep your employee's happy. Happy employee's are more productive, and will stick around.

Kind of like how NHL teams have terms in the contracts for their executives to talk to other teams about positions. If team A didn't let their assistant GM/Coach or AHL coach talk to other teams about a GM/head coaching position (which would mean they'd have to finish out their contract), they would become a less desirable location for talent to go to.

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07-21-2013, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
If its still a preseason game, I really don't see the harm in the Victoria Cup. It's really no different than the Charity Shield in soccer, nobody actually considers it a major trophy

My retort was to sending the actual SC championship team, or that being the standard or requirement. It's kind of foolish to even call it a "cup".

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07-21-2013, 02:15 PM
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How on earth does the Euro Champs playing the SC Champs make the SC a "second rate trophy"? The SC will continue to be what it has always been; the pinnacle of North American professional hockey.

Is the UEFA champions league a "second rate trophy" because the FIFA Club World Cup exists? Of course not. Everyone knows UEFA is the strongest "league", just like the NHL in hockey. UEFA participates for the good of the game (something the NHL likes to claim they care about).

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07-21-2013, 02:36 PM
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How on earth does the Euro Champs playing the SC Champs make the SC a "second rate trophy"? The SC will continue to be what it has always been; the pinnacle of North American professional hockey.

Is the UEFA champions league a "second rate trophy" because the FIFA Club World Cup exists? Of course not. Everyone knows UEFA is the strongest "league", just like the NHL in hockey. UEFA participates for the good of the game (something the NHL likes to claim they care about).

It somehow sets up the European champs as being in the same "league" as the SC champs, which would be a very difficult thing to claim.

You can have exhibitions and goodwill games without putting the onus on the best NHL team of any season.

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07-21-2013, 02:37 PM
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My retort was to sending the actual SC championship team, or that being the standard or requirement. It's kind of foolish to even call it a "cup".
yeah, but again it seems analogous to the Charity Shield in soccer, which pits the league champion against a cup champion. Nobody considers it at all important so it hasn't affected the prestige of the actual championship one bit.

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07-21-2013, 02:43 PM
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yeah, but again it seems analogous to the Charity Shield in soccer, which pits the league champion against a cup champion. Nobody considers it at all important so it hasn't affected the prestige of the actual championship one bit.

Then why have it if no one considers it important? It's also logistically difficult to even ice the SC champion seeing how quickly rosters are rebuilt. I don't think anyone would propose sending an SC champ over immediately after the Cup final either.

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07-21-2013, 03:01 PM
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No, it'd just be a preseason game. The point is to attract more interest in Europe. You could alternate it between Europe and NA to save on cost.

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07-21-2013, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
No, it'd just be a preseason game. The point is to attract more interest in Europe. You could alternate it between Europe and NA to save on cost.
I think there would be much less interest in North America. Perhaps they should try to entice the SC champs by reducing their pre-season schedule by 3-4 games and the general interest by having the tournament played in a hybrid rink?

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07-21-2013, 05:49 PM
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I think the idea isn't about growing the game, but getting hockey fans in those locations to start following the NHL instead of their local leagues.
AKA, the KHL.

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