The Flyers are headed for a European Vacation – but without the vacation part.
After weeks of rumor and speculation, it was confirmed early Thursday morning that the Flyers will compete outside of North America for the first time in their history next season when they play in the 2019 NHL Global Series.
The Flyers will open their regular season with a game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic on Oct. 4.
In addition, they will complete their training camp in Lausanne, Switzerland in late September and play an exhibition game against Lausanne HC on Sept. 30.
It’s also been confirmed that the game against Lausanne will be played at Vaudoise Arena and the game against Chicago will be played at O2 Arena in Prague.
The game in Prague could be almost a dream come true for three Flyers who hail from the Czech Republic – Jake Voracek, Radko Gudas and Michel Neuvirth – although Neuvirth is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s doubtful he will be with the team next season.
Voracek and Gudas both hail from Kladno, which is just outside of Prague, while Neuvirth was born in Usti nad Labem, which is roughly 55 miles north of the capital.
“Obviously it’s something that as a kid, you don’t think it’s possible,” Voracek said. “But with the way the NHL is going, I think it’s great for us to see all the friends and family, being able to attend an NHL game you can participate in. It’ll be special. It’s going to be exciting. I think everyone’s pretty pumped up for Prague.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Gudas said. “There was one game in Czech a lot of years back and it had a really good [feel], people really loved it and I believe the Czech people deserve an NHL game. The people are going to love it and it’s going to be a big deal for us.”
For the Flyers, it’s a chance to display their brand to a large contingent of fans in Europe who, for the most part, only get to watch games on television.
“The Philadelphia Flyers are proud to be playing in the 2019 NHL Global Series,” said Flyers president Paul Holmgren. “This is truly a historic moment for the organization as we take our hockey club overseas for the very first time.
“Throughout our history we have had a number of players from many different countries worldwide call Philadelphia home. Now, we are excited to have this opportunity to represent the Flyers on the international stage, and we look forward to opening the 2019-20 season against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague.”
The Flyers have played international opponents before, but never outside of Philadelphia.
The organization hosted several teams from the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia over a 15-year span that began with the team’s legendary win over CSKA Moscow, also known as the Soviet Red Army team, in January of 1976. The most recent matchup between the Flyers and a non-NHL team was a game against Dynamo Moscow at the Spectrum on Jan. 10, 1991.
Lausanne HC was founded in 1922 and is a member of the Swiss National League, the highest professional league in Switzerland. The Flyers will be helping Lausanne open up Vaudoise Arena, which is a brand-new, 10,000-seat facility that is currently wrapping up construction and is scheduled to open this summer.
Tickets to the Oct. 4 game in Prague will go on sale to the public beginning on Wednesday, March 27, while tickets to the game in Switzerland will go on sale beginning Wednesday, April 10. Fans can register their interest in tickets and gain access to pre-sale information and more by signing up for NHL Inside the Crease.