New York Rangers set to open NHL season in Prague
The 2008/2009 National Hockey League season will open in Prague and Stockholm next October. While the Swedish capital will see two games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, hockey fans in Prague are in for a one-off treat. Jaromír Jágr, the most brilliant Czech star in the NHL and the captain of the New York Rangers, will lead his team in two matches against Tampa Bay at Prague’s Sazka Arena.
“The Rangers are always the most difficult team because they are really one of a kind. For us, this team was the key factor because of the Czech players on the team. I spent some time with the management of the New York Rangers negotiating the important issues but it was more of a business between the NHL and the Rangers. After they reached a deal, it was great for us, too. We are happy to have the Rangers and Tampa Bay in Prague.”
Did Jaromír Jágr help?
“Jaromír helped me meet Glen Sather, the general manager of the New York Rangers. Jaromír is a star among all the players and he could make them feel enthusiast about coming to play in Prague.”
The back-to-back games are scheduled for October 4 and 5 at Prague’s Sazka Arena, one of the most modern ice-hockey venues in Europe. Before coming to Prague, the New York Ranges are also to face the European Champion League’s winner, the Russian Metallurg Magnitogorsk, in Victoria Cup in Switzerland. This might be the only issue that could put the planned NHL games in Prague at risk; the NHL Players’ Association has said that they would yet have to study the proposal before giving it the thumbs-up. But Vladimír Šafařík is confident.
Vladimír Šafařík says they are now pricing the tickets for the games which should go on sale in March or April with the most expensive tickets expected to cost around 6,000 crowns, or almost 350 US dollars. Are they expecting two full houses at the Sazka Arena in October?
“Definitely. The interest of the fans – even from fans from other European countries – is enormous. I expect that we can sell out Sazka Arena very soon.”