Kings, Coyotes going to Melbourne for first NHL games south of equator

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes will travel to Melbourne, Australia, in September to play the first NHL games in the Southern Hemisphere, the league and NHLPA announced Tuesday.

As part of the NHL Global Series, the Kings and Coyotes will play two preseason games on Sept. 23 and 24 at Rod Laver Arena, the home of the Australia Open. The venue has a retractable roof and also hosts basketball.

“We are delighted to bring the excitement and passion of the National Hockey League to the dynamic city of Melbourne and the great sports fans of Australia with the 2023 Global Series games,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are two of our League’s rising young teams and among our most innovative and adventurous franchises. We look forward to their two games at Rod Laver Arena and know this history-making visit will thrill our many avid fans in Australia and cause so many more throughout the sports-loving nation to be captivated by our great game.”

Previous preseason and regular-season NHL games have been played in Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Japan. The Kings participated in the first NHL game played in China in September 2017.

Kings defenseman Jordan Spence became the first Australian-born player to reach the NHL when he made his debut in March 2022. Before him, Nathan Walker, who was raised in Australia, played for the Washington Capitals the year they won the Stanley Cup and now plays for the St. Louis Blues.

–Field Level Media

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