The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will face off in the first NHL preseason games played in China, it was announced late Wednesday.
The games will be played Sept. 21 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and Sept. 23 at Huaxi LIVE Wukesong's Le Sports Center in Beijing.
"The 2017 NHL China Games presented by O.R.G. Packaging represent the formal launch of what we hope will be a long and successful collaboration between our league, our teams and our partners in accelerating the development of hockey in China," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released by both the NHL and NHLPA. "We look forward to our first games in China and to a variety of initiatives that will inspire generations of Chinese players and fans to enjoy our sport. We recognize the importance of helping China build a strong national hockey program and are committed to supporting that priority in every way possible."
Both the Canucks and Kings have held youth hockey camps in China in recent years. In addition, several NHL clubs have conducted hockey camps for Chinese youth recently both in China and North America, including the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals.
"Bringing NHL players to China for two games in September will give both current and potential new fans in Shanghai and Beijing a chance to watch some of the best hockey players in the world," NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider said. "The NHLPA is committed to growing hockey internationally, and the players fully appreciate the opportunity ahead in the coming years to expand the game's footprint.
"The players on the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks are looking forward to participating in the 2017 NHL China Games for what will certainly be a great experience in their careers."
Los Angeles will be designated the home team for the Sept. 21 game while Vancouver will be designated the home team for the Sept. 23 game.