NHL Week in Review (October 27-November 2)

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This past week the NHL took on their latest Global Series travelling to Finland for two games with two teams featuring Finnish stars.

The NHL’s focus on the international market is nothing new as they have been doing this for the better part of the last decade.

It is a big part of the strategy for the NHL as they have always been the smaller of the big four leagues in North America.

The NHL is solidly ingrained in the minds of Canadians and is by far the most popular league in that part of North America.

In the USA though, things are different as the region can play a big part in where they stand among the other leagues.

Most of the time they sit as the fourth or third most popular league behind the NFL, MLB and sometimes the NBA.

As a result, they have always looked outside of the box to find more fans and have regularly looked to Europe for those fans.

After all, behind Canada and the USA, the majority of fans come from places like Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Hockey has long been one of the most popular sports in places like Sweden, Finland, Russia and the Czech Republic.

So with that in mind, the NHL has always thought to bring the biggest and best league to those countries and see their stars up close.

As far back as 1938, the NHL has held games overseas with the Montreal Canadiens taking a European tour to England and France in 1938.

They have been going back ever since with different teams taking different tours and teams heading over to face European teams.

There have been many iterations of these tours for the NHL and the latest has been the NHL Global Series.

This time around the NHL has been taking a slightly different approach as they are looking both to their more traditional markets and non-traditional markets.

For the last two seasons, the NHL has played preseason games in China looking to break into a market that everyone wants to break into.

They are also continuing their look towards Europe to find more fans and grow the sport and the league.

They have been to Sweden, Germany and Switzerland this year along with the two games in Finland this week.hockey-sidebar

It has been a commitment that the NHL has shown in an attempt to grow their league beyond the borders of North America.

That has become a strategy that is followed by every league as the fact is that there is only so big a league can grow in North America.

The sports culture in this region of the world is big and very divided as the number of major leagues all fighting to get coverage can be overwhelming.

There is only so much space for teams here and so leagues are beginning to look outside of North America to find more fans.

These leagues are always meant to grow and get bigger and bigger and the only way to do that is to leave North America.

The NHL has known this for a long time as they have consistently stayed outside of their borders.

This week was the latest attempt to get the European market on their side and continue to be a solid presence.

It is more important now than ever for the league as the KHL continues to be the best alternative to the NHL.

For Europeans, the KHL provides talented players in games that are closer to their time zone which provides legitimate hockey to watch.

The NHL is still the place where the most talent resides as they are still the ultimate league for hockey.

They want to prove that and so they head to these countries showing off the best talent from these countries.

They will continue to do so as games are already planned for 2019 with the NHL continuing a pattern that is now becoming popular among other leagues.

By doing so they remain a constant presence in Europe and have that inside track while other leagues look to invade their space.

 

Overtime

Coming Back?

Before it became one of the biggest issues that many leagues have had to deal with the NHL had a major decision to make due to domestic violence. Slava Voynov was arrested in 2014 for domestic violence and pleaded no contest to corporal injury to his spouse. That plea led to two months of jail time and his path out of North America as he returned to Russia voluntarily avoiding deportation. The incident also saw the Los Angeles Kings terminate his contract. This week Voynov applied for reinstatement into the league leaving the NHL with a decision to make as they will need to investigate and determine what suspension he will face if he were to sign somewhere in the NHL.

Gambling Game

The USA took a big step earlier this year when they determined that it was illegal to criminalize sports betting allowing for states to come up with laws regulating betting on sports. For years the only place to bet money on sports was Las Vegas but now the possibilities were endless. The big leagues in North America were consistently against betting but with the new rules, they were likely to change their tune. The NHL is the first to really change their mind as this week they joined into a relationship with MGM Resorts as the official bettor of the NHL. It will give MGM Resorts and Casinos exclusive rights on NHL betting online making the NHL the first major league to sign a deal with a company dealing with betting rights.

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