Kings, Canucks to play two preseason games in China

The NHL and the NHL Players' Association will announce next week that the league will travel to China for two preseason games between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks next fall.

Officials from the league and players' association including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will formally announce the games, first reported by ESPN in early February, at the LeSports Center in Beijing on Thursday.

It's expected the teams will play two games in mid- to late September before the start of the 2017-18 NHL season. One game would be held in Beijing, the site of the 2022 Olympics, with the other likely in Shanghai.

The teams aren't expected to play any exhibition games against players from China, though there will be a strong grass-roots hockey component to the trip. The games mark the first NHL competition of any sort held in China. A youth hockey clinic will be among the events that will accompany Thursday's announcement.

The NHL earlier this week confirmed ESPN's report that the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators will play two regular-season games in Stockholm. The games will be Nov. 10 and 11 as part of what the league is calling its Global Series.

Those games will mark the sixth time -- and the first since 2011 -- that NHL regular-season games will be played in Europe. The announcements are part of a wide-ranging international calendar of events jointly organized and promoted by the league and its players.