NHL starts strong

The 2017-18 season doesn’t officially start until October 4, but already the National Hockey League has surpassed expectations of an exciting new year.

Part of the excitement began in June, when the Vegas Golden Knights, newly inducted and 31st team of the NHL, televised their draft picks.  Following league expansion rules, the Golden Knights were able to choose one player from the all other 30 teams—barring those that had been protected by each team’s administration. Since then, from each coast and all around Canada, every hockey fan has had an eye on the team that had yet to play a game. That is, until they began the preseason with emphatic wins over the Vancouver Canucks and the Colorado Avalanche.

Partly owing to the overall early success of the new Vegas team, Seattle, Washington, on September 12, announced its plans to renovate an arena at the Seattle Center into a possible home for what will become the 32nd team in the NHL.

On the other side of the world, the NHL had another first by coordinating the China Games—the first ever NHL games to be played in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Two games were played between the Vancouver Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings won both, first with a score of 5-2 in regulation and second with a score of 4-3 after a shootout. The games were held in hopes of sparking interest in the community and eventually being able to establish another core group dedicated to growing the game of hockey around the world while also turning Chinese citizens interests towards winter sports.

The induction of the Vegas Golden Knights and the playing of the 2017 NHL China Games are special for another reason. Each has contributed to the growing anticipation of the opening of the 2017-18 season. The 100th year of the National Hockey League.

All teams, whether a part of the Original Six like the Boston Bruins, or one of the many expansion teams like the Minnesota Wild, have planned numerous events and ceremonies to celebrate the longevity of hockey in North America and the growth of hockey around the world.