The NHL has been very happy with their Global Series efforts in recent seasons and very motivated to continue their preseason and regular season ventures in countries throughout Europe and Asia. As early as November, Prague – the capital of the Czech Republic, a major supplier of hockey talent – emerged as a likely destination for a Global Series event next season. Per Sportsnet’s John Shannon, that has now been confirmed and the competitors have been chosen. The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will start the 2019-20 season in Prague.
If the 2018-19 format is to be followed , the Blackhawks and Flyers are likely to play just the regular season opener overseas. This season, the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers started the year with a game in Sweden, which was preceded by exhibition contests elsewhere in Europe. However, in November the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets faced off in a pair of games in Finland, so it could be that the league opts to schedule two matches in the Czech Republic to open the season. All of the Global Series games had great success this year, which could encourage the league to expand on the total number of contests.
Also like the Global Series competitors this season, Chicago and Philadelphia have ties to the location. While the Blackhawks and Flyers are undoubtedly teams that the NHL likes to promote in league events, they also each have popular players among Czech fans. Jakub Voracek, long-time Flyers star forward, is one of the more popular Czech players in the NHL, while teammate Radko Gudas is a Prague native. Meanwhile, the ’Hawks have several intriguing young players with Czech connections. Standout rookie Dominik Kahun has both Czech and German citizenship, second-year player David Kampf came over directly from the top Czech pro league, and NLA superstar and Czech native Dominik Kubalik was recently acquired from the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago could push to sign him this summer. The game would garner great attention in a great hockey country like the Czech Republic regardless, but with several locals to watch it should be a quite popular event.