The league announced Wednesday that the Bruins and Flames will face off Sept. 15 in Shenzhen in southeast China and then again Sept. 19 in Beijing. The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played preseason games in Shanghai and Beijing last September, during the NHL's first foray to China.
China represents an as-yet-untapped resource for the NHL, especially ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Commissioner Gary Bettman has so far been noncommittal about NHL players participating in 2022 after skipping the Games in South Korea this year, but the work is already underway to make serious inroads in China, where the NBA has had a presence for decades.
The NHL is working with local authorities to develop grassroots hockey programs. China has a population of 1.3 billion and the government aims to have 300 million participants in winter sports by 2022.