With Colorado’s 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday night, the Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. This means that the current season is officially over, and there won’t be any official NHL games until the fall. Despite the 2021-2022 season just ending, there’s a lot to look forward to come October.
Starting next fall, the NHL is improving the ways they work with sponsors, now allowing sponsors to develop patches players can wear on their jerseys in addition to the already allowed logos displayed on helmets. Companies wishing to be featured on helmets are considered helmet entitlement partners, while companies featured on jerseys will be referred to jersey patch partners. It will be interesting to see how many teams adopt this new sponsorship opportunity, as well as what brands will dish out money to participate.
Not only will sponsorships look different, but this will be the first season the league plays at a college facility. The Arizona Coyotes recently signed a three-year agreement with Arizona State University to utilize their new multi-purpose arena. The Coyotes’ previous home games have been played at Gila River Arena, however they did not renew the pre-existing lease agreement. Arizona has plans to construct a brand new facility in the future, but for now it will be interesting to see NHL games played in an intimate venue.
The NHL also plans to bring back hosting a select few postseason games in Europe, bringing back the NHL Global Series for the first time since 2019. The Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Colorado Avalanche are slated to play in Bern, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany come early October. Additionally, there are plans for some regular season games to be held across the globe as well.
The Predators and Sharks will play their first two regular season games in Prague, Czech Republic. The Blue Jackets and Avalanche will travel to Tampere, Finland in November for two more games. These Global Series games will give international fans the opportunity to see some of their favorite teams in-person in addition to supporting the NHL’s goal of creating more hockey fans.
Outdoor games are also scheduled to make a comeback. The upcoming season’s Winter Classic has been announced to take place at Fenway Park in Boston, with the Boston Bruins hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game takes place on January 2, 2023, so it should be an exciting way to ring in the new year. The Stadium Series is also scheduled to take place on February 18 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. There, The Carolina Hurricanes will host their first Stadium Series game against the Washington Capitals.
Outdoor games are fun experiences for both the fans and players alike, especially for those players who are just entering the NHL. New talent entering the league is always exciting, as fans hope new draft picks will help their team succeed. We’ve seen this in the past when Jack Hughes was drafted as the first pick in round one by the New Jersey Devils, instantly becoming the face of the team. Recently, the media has been commenting on Colorado’s fourth pick from the first round during 2017’s draft, Cale Makar. At just 23 years old, Makar has helped lead the team to a Stanley Cup Championship. This year’s draft takes place in Montreal on July 7 and 8 with Shane Wright, Logan Cooley, and Cutter Gauthier amongst many others being drafted in the first round.
While the majority of the hockey community is still celebrating Colorado’s big win, we’re all dreading the fact that the hockey season is over. However, there’s a lot to look forward to in the weeks leading up to the 2022-2023 season! All we can ask is, is it October yet?