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NHL TO OPEN NEW SEASON AT The O2 WITH NHL PREMIERE
Today the National Hockey League (NHL) and Anschutz Entertainment Group announce that the NHL will open the 2007-2008 season with two games with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks at the O2 Arena, the centrepiece for the new world class destination The O2. After three successful Game One events in Japan (1997, 1998 & 2000), NHL Premiere will mark the first time the NHL will play regular season games in Europe. The home-and-home series will take place on Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30. It also marks the third trip to London by the NHL, their last visit was for the 1993 two-game preseason series between the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs at Wembley Arena to a crowd of 8,587 people. “Our commitment to grow the game globally has never been stronger,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly. “The NHL is extremely proud to be represented in London by two great hockey organizations in the Ducks and Kings as well as to be recording NHL history at such a fantastic facility in The O2.” Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG Worldwide, commented: “We are specialists in sport and are committed to the advancement of sport across the globe. Our aim is to develop sport internationally by bringing European sports to the USA and American sports to Europe. “We are closely linked to the NHL and are proud to be bringing the games to our new state of the art arena in London.” Philip Beard, CEO of The O2, commented: “Our new, state of the art arena is the first of its kind for London and for Europe and is capable of hosting a range of sports to a standard previously impossible on this side of the Atlantic. We’re excited to have the National Hockey League open their regular season with us at The O2 Arena and to be furthering the case for London as a destination for international sports. “ Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, said: “It is great for London that the National Hockey League are choosing London as the first European destination to host a regular season NHL game. This is the first opportunity for Londoners to see real competition ice hockey at NHL standard. With the National Hockey League, National Football League, National Basketball Association and the Tour de France all having announced inaugural season games hosted in London, this year is going to be a record for our city as a destination for international sports. We would like to thank AEG and the National Hockey League for this, and for their huge new contribution to the variety of sports on offer here in the capital.” James Bidwell, Chief Executive of Visit London, commented: “We’re very excited that the NHL is going to be playing regular season games in London for the first time. This is another great addition to the roster of international sports on offer and, together with the NFL and NBA games, we’re sure that this will encourage many fans of American professional sports to visit the capital this autumn. This is also a fantastic showcase for The O2 as an important venue for the Olympic Games and increases the profile of our city as a world leader in sports in the lead up to 2012.” Tickets on sale now and are available online at www.theo2.co.uk or by phone at TicketMaster on 0870 534 4444. More details on NHL Premiere will be released at a later date, including information on Ducks and Kings training camp and exhibition schedules. More information on NHL can be found at www.NHLmedia.com.