2023 NHL Global Series: A trip to the land Down Under
In case you missed it, here are some of the most memorable highlights from the 2023 NHL Global Series in Melbourne.
Feature photo: Getty Images
The NHL preseason started off strong as the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings headed to Australia for the first time ever to play a two-game series on September 23 and 24 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. In case you missed it, here are a few of the top moments – on and off the ice – from this trip Down Under.
The Coyotes took a 5-3 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,097 Aussie sports fans to open the series. Logan Cooley scored the game-winner, while Connor Ingram made a total of 33 saves for Arizona. Cooley gave Australian hockey fans a memorable moment with a spectacular, jaw-dropping goal to give the Coyotes a 4-1 lead in the second.
The Kings responded the next day with a 3-2 win, led by Adrian Kempe scoring two goals for his team. Netminders Cam Talbot stopped 20 of 21 shots and David Rittich stopped 11 of 12 shots. Earning the game's first star of the night was Australian-born Jordan Spence, who came out to salute the crowd after putting up an assist and an excellent performance to wrap up the series.
In case you missed it, here are a few more of the top moments from this trip Down Under.
SHOWING UP IN STYLE
From the desert to Down Under, the Coyotes knew how to blend right into the fashion scene as they made their arrivals in Melbourne. Matt Dumba pulled up in some of his favourite threads for his Coyotes debut, after being signed to the team this past August.
There was another player debut alert as Pierre-Luc Dubois is captured upon arrival making his official on-ice appearance in a Los Angeles Kings jersey since joining the club in late June.
A TRUE AUSSIE WELCOME
Anze Kopitar of the Kings and Clayton Keller of the Coyotes got a true Aussie welcome as they had the chance to meet with Steve Dimopoulos, a member of parliament and the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events for the state of Victoria. Following their flights from the U.S., the players, Dimopoulos, and key members of each organization met with the media to discuss the excitement and opportunity this Global Series has for growing the game of hockey in Australia.
THE SPORTS CROSS-OVERS WE NEEDED
It is safe to say Drew Doughty looked the part as he hit the court with Aussie tennis legend, Thanasi Kokkinakis. After a team practice on Wednesday, Doughty headed to Kia Arena in Melbourne Park where he learned a new appreciation for another sport as he smacked around the ball with an impressed, Kokkinakis.
Swapping out their usual tools of trade, Pierre-Luc Dubois had the chance to pick up a couple of new skills from, Mason Cox, a well-know Australian Football League player for Collingwood FC. The pair swapped team jerseys, and Dubois traveled to AIA Vitality Centre after practice to learn the dynamics of a drop punt where Dubois admitted, "It's a lot more complicated than it looks."
The Kings donned a different kind of black and white than they were used to when they showed their support for the club, also nicknamed the Magpies.
OUT AND ABOUT
Not only did players participate in on-ice action, but also had the chance to explore the city of Melbourne and get familiar with everything Australia has to offer. From the fairway to the zoo, the Kings and Coyotes had their fair share of team-bonding experiences.
Golf season was not over just yet -- the Kings attended Kingston Heath Golf Club and the Coyotes attended Huntingdale Golf Course on their days off for one last round before hockey season officially kicks off.
No image of Australia would be complete without the sight of kangaroos hopping around and Sean Durzi was not the biggest fan while the Coyotes spent the day getting familiar with all kinds of Aussie wildlife at the zoo for their team bonding activity.
If you are familiar with Australia, then you have heard of Vegemite. Adrian Kempe and Quinton Byfield headed to Culture Kings, a streetwear clothing retailer, for a live Q&A session, while also adding some sweet new pieces to their collections. Kempe also had the opportunity to sample the well-known spread, and it is safe to say he was not the biggest fan.
PLAYERS GROWING THE GAME
The NHLPA proudly announced last week that NHLPA Goals & Dreams is donating 50 complete sets of hockey equipment to Ice Hockey Australia. The donation was presented to Ice Hockey Australia, alongside the NHL players, to celebrate an exciting initiative that will go a long way in assisting the growth of the game in Australia.
The equipment, valued at $30,000 AUD, will be distributed to the Kaurna Boomerangs ice hockey team, Ice Hockey Victoria, and other member associations of the IHA.
With this, a few players – including Kevin Fiala and Matt Roy of the Los Angeles Kings and Alex Kerfoot, Jack McBain and Nick Bjugstad of the Arizona Coyotes – participated in a post-practice session at O'Brien Icehouse. Local youth got to participate in some on-ice skill sessions and meet the players.
"What NHLPA Goals & Dreams have done ... bringing gear out here ... it's been a great experience to be on the ice with these kids and actually see some of this first hand. It's showing that hockey has really become a global sports," said Coyotes forward Alex Kerfoot after stepping on the ice with local youth.
Feature photo: Getty Images
SAVE THE DATE
Next up in the NHL Global Series are the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs as they will be heading to Stockholm, Sweden later this year for regular-season games, to be played November 16-19.