There’s no shame in trying to put this season behind us before it’s even ended, and the San Jose Sharks are already looking to the future.
The 2022-23 season will begin in early October, setting the league back into its usual schedule after several seasons of disruptions and delays from navigating a pandemic. To that end, the league is reigniting its NHL Global Series, which has been shut down with work and travel restrictions over the last two seasons. It was last played in 2019, when the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres played a pair of regular-season games in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a preseason match in Prague, Czech Republic.
The 2022 Series will prominently feature the Sharks, as they are set to play three games abroad, including two regular-season games.
The Sharks’ preseason will include an exhibition match in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 4 against Eisbären Berlin (Berlin Polar Bears), who compete in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Germany’s top-tier men’s hockey league. The club is currently competing in the DEL’s Playoffs Semi-Final, winning the first game in the best-of-five series against Adler Mannheim. The Eisbären have won the league’s title more times than any other club and are among the league’s founding teams.
They’ll then head to Prague, where they’ll open the regular season in a “home-and-home” series of games against the Nashville Predators at O2 Arena, from Oct. 7-8.
For Sharks players Tomas Hertl and Radim Simek, it’s a chance to play with their home-away-from-home team in their home country. If he makes the roster next year, prospect Adam Raska is also from the Czech Republic.
“I am very excited to be playing in my country next year,” said Hertl in the release. “It is my home and where I started my pro hockey career and I can have all of my family and friends in the building watch me play an NHL game with the Sharks.”
“We are honored to participate in the 2022 Global Series in Prague and Berlin,” said Jonathan Becher, President of Sharks Sports & Entertainment. “The San Jose Sharks have a passionate international fanbase as evidenced by our thriving out-of-market 1991 Club. We will continue to look for ways to showcase the Sharks around the world.”
All international games will be audio broadcast through the Sharks Audio Network, with television broadcast options to be announced at a later date.
The Sharks have not played internationally since 2010, splitting a two-game series against the Blue Jackets in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the NHL Premiere series. The organization also played a pair of games against the Calgary Flames in Tokyo, Japan in 1998.