Prague set to host start of NHL season this weekend
The NHL Global Series is returning to Prague this Friday and Saturday, with the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators set to face off in two games at the Czech capital’s O2 arena. Local fans are especially excited about the chance to see Prague-born Sharks forward Tomáš Hertl live on ice.
The Global Series is an annual event which sees NHL regular season games played outside of North America. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, it is now coming back to Europe with the first pure NHL team clash taking place in Czechia’s chief hockey temple – the O2 arena.
The Nashvile Predators and the San Jose Sharks will play two games in Prague that will open the 2022-23 NHL regular season and San Jose’s alternate captain Tomáš Hertl is seen as the main attraction in Czechia.
The former Slavia Prague forward has remained loyal to the Sharks since he started his NHL career in 2013. Together with his San Jose teammate Radim Šimek, Hertl also won bronze at the IIHF World Championships earlier this year. Czech hockey legend Jaromír Jágr, who watched the Sharks train ahead of the game on Thursday, joked that Hertl told him he will score hat-tricks in both games. The two men played together at the World Championships in 2014 and Jágr is expected to drop the puck at the starting face-off of Saturday’s game, news site iSport.cz reports.
It is likely that many Czechs in the stands will be rooting for the Sharks as their opponents have no Czech player in their roster. That said, the NHL is very popular in Czechia, with dedicated fans of all the North American teams.
The last time that two NHL teams clashed in Prague was three years ago, when the Philadelphia Flyers played the Chicago Black Hawks.
Both games will start at 8pm in Czechia, which is 2pm Eastern Time in the US.