The last time the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, they began the 2010-11 season with a pair of games against the then Phoenix Coyotes in Prague, Czech Republic. Ten years later they will once again start their season in the beautiful Czech capital at O2 Arena against the Nashville Predators headlining the 2020 NHL Global Series.
“We have kicked off our season with international games twice (China in 2018-19) in the past decade and both times the trips have proved valuable for our team building, so we feel that this trip to Germany and the Czech Republic will be beneficial for our team,” said Bruins President Cam Neely in a press release. “We are also looking forward to working with the NHL and the Nashville Predators to continue our collective efforts to grow the game of hockey in international markets.”
Both the Bruins and Predators will complete their training camps in Europe and will each play in an exhibition match as part of the 2020 NHL Global Series Challenge. The Bruins will report to Mannheim, Germany and play an exhibition game against Adler Mannheim at SAP Arena, while the Predators will report to Bern, Switzerland, and play an exhibition game against SC Bern at PostFinance Arena.
The Bruins have two Czech natives on their roster, David Krejci and David Pastrnak. Krejci was born in Sternberk and played junior hockey for HC Kladno. He has represented his home country in international play on several occasions, including the Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014, and was awarded the Golden Hockey Stick as the top hockey player from the Czech Republic in 2013. Pastrnak was born in Havirov and played junior hockey with AZ Havirov. He has represented the Czech Republic in international play on several occasions and has been awarded the Golden Hockey Stick as the top hockey player from the Czech Republic each of the last three years in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“Opening the season in Prague and Northern Ireland back in 2010 was a very special experience to share with my family, friends, and teammates,” Krejci said in the same press release. “It was the start of a year I’ll always remember. Growing up in Czech, it was my dream to play in the NHL so to be able to play in more NHL games in Europe means a lot to me personally. I think it’s great the League continues to grow the game and bring hockey to different countries all over the world.”
Pastrnak, who heading into NHL action Friday, led the league in points (30) and goals (15), actually attended the Bruins-Coyotes games back in 2010 and is thrilled to be able to return to his homeland and take part as a player this time around.
“I was very excited to learn that the Boston Bruins would be heading back to my home country to play in the 2020 NHL Global Series in Prague,” said Pastrnak. “I remember driving to O2 Arena as a kid to go see the Bruins play the Coyotes back in 2010 for the NHL Premiere games. The passionate fans and atmosphere were something I’ll never forget – I can’t wait to feel that energy again from the ice in Prague and Mannheim.”
The Bruins lost 5-2 to the Coyotes on October 9, 2010, and won 3-0 on October 10. They also played an exhibition game at the Odyssey in Belfast, Northern Ireland, defeating the Belfast Giants select team 5-1 on October 2.
Boston also opened its 2018-19 regular season outside the United States, as the team participated in the O.R.G. NHL China Games against the Calgary Flames. The Bruins defeated the Flames 4-3 in a shootout at Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen on September 15 and then won 3-1 at Cadillac Arena in Beijing on September 19.