Bill Daly: NHL teams in Europe ‘almost inevitable’

Could the NHL find a permanent home in Europe? Deputy commissioner Bill Daly seems to think so - at least eventually.

"Do I see it happening someday? Yes," Daly said Thursday on TSN 1050. "Do I see it happening in the short term? Probably not. ...

"The number of our players who are born and trained in Europe and add to the talent level of the NHL, the interest in the sport in a number of countries in Europe, make it almost inevitable that at some point the NHL will have teams in Europe."

Nearly 30 percent of NHL players are from Europe, according to Quant Hockey.

Daly noted that it's not a short-term priority for the league and added that many logistical issues would need to be addressed, including NHL-caliber arenas, travel capabilities, and willing owners. He also questioned whether some of the markets could support NHL franchises.

The NHL has played regular-season games in both Finland and Germany this season, but the idea of putting teams in European cities has never gained serious traction.

"I don't think you can expand by just one or two teams in Europe," Daly said. "I think you'd have to have some medium number of teams that can play each other and make travel and schedule far more efficient than it would be with one or two teams."

The idea of adding enough teams to form some sort of European division makes overseas expansion more challenging for the NHL than it is for the NFL, which could potentially put a single team in London, England thanks to football's comparatively limited travel.

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