With preseason games beginning on Sept. 24, the National Hockey League (NHL) is about to be back in full swing. Get out your jerseys and hometeam gear, and be sure to support your team! Whether Chicago Blackhawks or elsewhere, the NHL is something that can all bring us together, no judgment here on who you support.
On Aug. 3, the NHL announced the preseason schedule, which would be “a 15-day, 108-game slate played across 45 NHL and neutral-site venues in North America and Europe from Sept. 24 to Oct. 8.” There already is a lot of hockey action, which was for sure missed during the summer by hockey lovers.
This preseason included the Hockeyville festival in Canada and the U.S., which is a partnership with Kraft Heinz, the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) to support local community arenas across Canada and within the U.S. Locations including Sydney, Nova Scotia and El Paso, Texas won the Hockeyville hosting privileges this year.
The games on Sept. 24 included the Battle of Ontario, the Ottawa Senators versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Toronto took the win with a score of 4-1. On the same day, the Boston Bruins played the Philadelphia Flyers and the Arizona Coyotes met the St. Louis Blues at a neutral-site game in Wichita, Kansas. The Bruins lost to Philadelphia 2-1 and the Blues narrowly beat the Coyotes 5-4.
This preseason also included European international games as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Global Series is the effort of the NHL to join worldwide hockey, and are doing so in places such as Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Finland. The Nashville Predators faced SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 and won 4-3, and the Sharks beat Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany 3-1 on Oct. 4. SC Bern and Eisbaren Berlin are both club hockey teams, not national.
The international game took place in Prague, Czech Republic, where the Nashville Predators beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Oct. 7 for the season opener game. The regular season continued on Oct. 11 in North America after the Predators and Sharks returned from abroad.
Not only is there fantasy football, but there is also fantasy hockey, which gives the opportunity for fans to draft their own teams and manage them throughout the season. It is not nearly as popular as fantasy football, but fantasy hockey is still the same fun.
The most desired players to have on your fantasy hockey team this year include Connor McDavid (Center/Edmonton), Auston Matthews (Center/Toronto), Cale Maker (Defense/Colorado), Kirill Kaprizov (Left-Wing/Minnesota) and Andrei Vasilevsky (Goalie/Tampa Bay).
Some teams to watch this season are the Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. These teams had success during the 2021 season, and are expected to be back again at the same level this year.
Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t make the top 20 in the preseason rankings of the NHL, so hopefully you did not have any of their players on your fantasy team. It might be a long winter for the city of Chicago – but that means that tickets will be cheaper. So, go on over to United Center to catch a game or two this season, it’ll be a good deal!