The Growth of NHL in Europe & Around the World

The NHL is making a big push to grow its brand in Europe and around the world. This effort has included everything from expanding the number of international tournaments to be played to increasing the number of teams playing in Europe during the regular season. While there have been some bumps along the way, it appears that the NHL is succeeding in its goal of making hockey a global sport. Here are just a few reasons why.

Growing the NHL Brand

Growing the NHL brand in Europe is a current priority for NHL teams. The key to building a brand is to build fans through NHL events and games. The NHL is also building a brand through television deals. Developing fan bases and increasing TV viewership are vital steps in building a brand.

The NHL has already begun touring Europe. In 1989, the Calgary Flames held a training camp in Prague and played the Washington Capitals in the Soviet Union during a pre-tour. In 2010, the Phoenix Coyotes played against the Boston Bruins in the Compuware NHL Premiere Games. In addition, the NHL has added regular season games to the calendar in Europe.

Lack of NHL-Style Arenas

If you’re looking to see NHL games in Europe, the biggest problem is the lack of NHL-style arenas. While London’s O2 Arena is one of the busiest venues in the world, many traditional hockey cities lack NHL-style arenas and luxury boxes. Fortunately, some of these cities are getting closer to creating an NHL-style environment.

If NHL expansion in Europe is a real possibility, the league would consider a European venue well. While there are a number of possible locations, there are a few key points to consider. These include a hockey-loving population, availability of NHL-style arenas, and potential for expansion.

Building Fans

NHL teams in Europe are focusing on building their brand in the region. They are adjusting their schedules to include more weekend midday games, which will attract fans from Europe. This move will be good news for the teams, as well as for sports-themed operators. Here’s a look at how they plan to do it.

NHL exhibition games will be held in Europe. Commissioner Gary Bettman recently stated that this is just the beginning of a gradual build toward a more permanent presence in the region.

Growth of Online Sports Betting

Just like NFL betting lines, you can now bet on NHL games online. The growth of online sports betting has made it easier than ever to place bets on your favorite team. You can now bet on the Stanley Cup winner, the conference champion, and even the individual player awards.

NHL betting is still in its infancy, but it is growing rapidly. The number of online sportsbooks offering NHL betting in the past year has increased. This is due to the growing popularity of hockey in the United States, Canada, and Europe.


A new series of games will be played in Sweden and Finland during the week of Oct. 6. The Devils will play the Edmonton Oilers in Sweden, and the Florida Panthers will face the Winnipeg Jets in Finland. The NHL is hoping that these games will help grow its brand in Europe.

Sweden has one of the highest rates of immigration in Europe, with around 163,000 people moving to Sweden in 2016. While hockey has historically been played by a predominantly white male demographic, the Swedish league is looking to expand its fan base.

Greater Toronto Area

The NHL is considering expanding to Europe. However, the current lack of NHL-style arenas in Europe is a major hurdle to such an expansion. The NHL’s growth in Europe would require teams to expand to a minimum of four teams. The NHLPA boss, Donald Fehr, said such expansion would be a “positive statement” and would lead to higher salaries for NHL players.

NHL expansion into Europe is expected to happen in the next decade, but some challenges remain. While the NHL has yet to name any cities, it has hinted that expansion is possible within ten years. However, International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel said in August 2010 that he would strongly oppose the idea. He noted that time zone complications would also pose a challenge.

However, the Kontinental Hockey League, which was born out of the Russian Superleague in 2008, has become one of the world’s most prominent professional leagues and has grown to include several European cities.


NHL expansion into Russia and other European countries is possible, but the NHL has not yet formed an official opinion. However, NHL executives have spoken about the idea of expansion. While Daly and other league executives have remained quiet, they have noted that the KHL has been expanding to countries outside Russia and absorbing smaller European leagues.

While NHL expansion has been slow in Europe, Russia and other countries in the region have been able to attract top international talent in recent years. Last season, the NHL sent 51 players from the former Soviet Union and other European nations. This was the highest percentage since 2003/04. While the Czech Republic and Slovakia sent only nine and a half players each, Russia and Finland sent 50 and 11 players, respectively.


The NHL is gradually expanding its presence in Europe. While the league has yet to make a concrete plan, it is evident that they are considering expansion into the region. This would be a positive move for the league, as well as for fans and operators of sports betting sites.

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