In October of 2008, Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside had a conversation, at ESPN.com, about the NHL expanding to Europe.
LeBrun’s main point about European expansion is putting the game in front of people who actually want to watch it and taking it out of places where it isn’t watched.
In January of 2009, Kevin McGran wrote in the Toronto Star that the future of the NHL could be in Europe.
Paul Kelly, the former Executive Director of the NHLPA, supported the idea of globalizing the game and really wanted to test the markets to see if it would be a viable thing for the NHL to pursue.
Kelly said “What I’m saying is, you can’t be short-sighted. You need to continue to look short term and long term. We have to look for growth opportunities in the coming years, which means bigger markets, better television deals. We have a natural market in most of Europe.”
This week, at ESPN.com, LeBrun once again brought up the idea of moving the six weakest markets to places like Helsinki, Stockholm, Prague, Zurich, Berlin and Moscow.
As LeBrun notes, in places like those cities in Europe you “don’t have to explain the icing rules.”
In August of 2010, Rene Fasel of the IIHF said that he would “fight like hell” to stop any NHL team from moving to Europe.
Fasel wants to implement a tournament where the top teams in Europe would play each other and the winner would then play the Stanley Cup Champion.