Ducks, Kings to open next season in London

Updated: March 2, 2007, 9:35 PM ET news services

NEW YORK -- The NHL will play regular-season games for the first time in Europe with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings opening the 2007-2008 season by playing two games in London.

The games, first reported by ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek, are set for Sept. 29-30 at the O2 Arena, which is set to open in July. It is being built by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Kings' parent company.

It is not the first time regular-season games have been played outside North America. The Ducks played the Vancouver Canucks twice to open the 1997-98 season in Tokyo. San Jose and Calgary opened the 1998-99 season in Tokyo, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators opened the 2000-01 season on the outskirts of Tokyo.

It will be the third trip to London by the NHL. In 1992, the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens played preseason games at the Wembley Arena, as did the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993.

"Our commitment to grow the game globally has never been stronger," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday. "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 02."

The NFL is playing its first regular-season game in Europe with the New York Giants facing the Miami Dolphins at London's Wembley Stadium on Oct. 28.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.