Predators, Sharks going Global to start regular season in Prague

PRAGUE — When the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks seem at O2 Arena on Friday and Saturday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, BSSO, NBCSCA) in the 2022 NHL Global Series, they’ll no longer play preseason video games. They will open the 2022-23 NHL regular season.

These video games will rely.

But the Predators and Sharks are holding in standpoint that each and every of those video games will rely for greater than two issues in the standings. They’re balancing industry with the larger image.

Instead of final their practices to the general public Thursday, the Predators and Sharks opened them. Music performed whilst they skated earlier than a couple of thousand enthusiasts on the area, together with many youngsters in NHL, Czech and formative years jerseys.

“We were all those kids at some point,” Predators heart Ryan Johansen stated, “and it’s just cool with our platforms to inspire and encourage and just kind of make their days and show them that their dreams, if they want to play in the NHL, they can reach them.”

One father in the stands Thursday put his 4-year-old son on his shoulders to be certain that he may just see. The son was once dressed in a Tomas Hertl Sharks T-shirt.

Hertl is the primary appeal right here.

Born and raised in Prague, he performed for Slavia Praha HC from 2010-13 earlier than becoming a member of the Sharks in 2013-14. At that point, the workforce performed in the Czech Extraliga, the rustic’s most sensible skilled league, and known as O2 Arena house.

Hertl has change into an excellent participant and character in San Jose. Four occasions, he has scored a minimum of 20 targets. Twice, he has scored a minimum of 30. But Czech enthusiasts have had to practice him from afar.

This is their probability to see him in particular person. Some got here to apply Thursday as a result of they could not get tickets to both recreation. Hertl spoke to the group in an interview at the ice on the finish of apply.

“It was awesome,” Hertl stated along with his trademark smile. “I never had practice with a lot of people like that, and it was just great feeling. You’re coming home after 10 years when I used to play in Prague. Now you’re playing for Sharks, and there’s so many kids cheering, cheering for us. It was an absolutely great experience, and I can’t even wait for tomorrow’s game.”

Sharks trainer David Quinn stated Hertl’s homecoming may just spur his teammates.

“We seem to be a close-knit group, and no one is more respected or liked than Tomas,” Quinn stated. “Obviously, it’s a new season, it’s the opening of the season for the National Hockey League, it’s our opener, so there’s a level of excitement unlike the other games that you play throughout the season. I think playing in Tomas’ hometown and being able to watch how excited he is certainly should provide a little bit of extra motivation for our guys.”

The Sharks even have defenseman Radim Simek, who was once born in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, about 40 mins northeast of O2 Arena.

The Predators don’t have a Czech participant on their roster.

They had their homecoming recreation Monday, when defenseman Roman Josi returned to his local Bern, Switzerland, to play his former workforce, SC Bern, in preseason recreation as a part of the 2022 NHL Global Series Challenge. Predators ahead Nino Niederreiter, who grew up about 3 hours east of Bern in Chur, Switzerland, additionally gained a heat welcome.

Josi had two targets and an help in a 4-3 win. When he was once named first celebrity, the enthusiasts confirmed their appreciation, and he confirmed his appreciation to them, elevating his stick, pounding his chest.

The Sharks performed a preseason recreation at Eisbaren Berlin on Tuesday as a part of the 2022 NHL Global Series Challenge, however ahead Nico Sturm, from Augsburg, Germany, sat out due to an upper-body damage. Quinn stated he’ll be in the lineup Friday.

“I think you saw it there with Josi in Bern, when he went back home and you saw the crowd,” Sharks heart Luke Kunin stated. “You saw the success they had there and how exciting it was. We can kind of turn it up a little bit. It’s a big game for not only our team, but for him being back home, so I think you can kind of build off that emotion and hopefully have success.”

Each workforce can construct off that emotion Friday and Saturday, regardless that. The Josi enjoy confirmed the Predators what this implies to the enthusiasts right here, particularly to the children in the group.

“We’re just another group of young guys that they can look up to,” Johansen stated, “and [we try to] be great role models for them over here and just lead by example and do our best to show them a great time.”

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