BOSTON (CBS) — For the third time in a decade and the second time in three years, the Boston Bruins are heading overseas. The NHL announced on Friday that the Bruins will open the 2020-21 season in the Czech Republic, taking on the Nashville Predators at O2 Arena in Prague.
Both teams will conclude their training camps in Europe and will play an exhibition game, with the Bruins playing in Mannheim, Germany against Adler Mannheim. The Predators will play their exhibition in Bern, Switzerland, against SC Bern.
Previously, the Bruins have opened their season in Prague (2010, with the preseason spent in Northern Ireland) and spent their preseason in China (2018). Coincidentally, both of those seasons ended with trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, with the Bruins winning in 2011 and losing in seven games last June.
“We have kicked off our season with international games twice in the past decade and both times the trips have proved valuable for our team building, so we feel that this trip to Germany and the Czech Republic will be beneficial for our team,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in the announcement. “We are also looking forward to working with the NHL and the Nashville Predators to continue our collective efforts to grow the game of hockey in international markets.”
The Bruins’ current roster includes two natives of the Czech Republic — David Krejci and David Pastrnak.
“Opening the season in Prague and Northern Ireland back in 2010 was a very special experience to share with my family, friends and teammates,” said Krejci. “It was the start of a year I’ll always remember. Growing up in Czech, it was my dream to play in the NHL so to be able to play in more NHL games in Europe means a lot to me personally. I think it’s great the league continues to grow the game and bring hockey to different countries all over the world.”
Pastrnak, 23, recalled going to see the Bruins when they opened their season in Prague back in 2010.
“I was very excited to learn that the Boston Bruins would be heading back to my home country to play in the 2020 NHL Global Series in Prague,” said Pastrnak. “I remember driving to O2 Arena as a kid to go see the Bruins play the Coyotes back in 2010 for the NHL Premiere games. The passionate fans and atmosphere were something I’ll never forget – I can’t wait to feel that energy again from the ice in Prague and Mannheim.”
The Bruins-Predators clash will mark the fourth consecutive year and ninth season that the NHL has held regular-season games in Europe. As the NHL explained, “These games reward the legions of loyal and passionate fans in Europe that enjoy live NHL game.”