There's little mystery as to the top item on the tourism docket for the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings during their visit this week to China, where they will play the first sanctioned NHL games in the world's most populous country.
The idea behind the trip is to give the country a taste of NHL hockey, the players a sense of Chinese culture and the league a chance to promote its product to a vast, untapped market of nearly 1.4 billion people.
Los Angeles Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty talked to Tencent about what he wants to do in China, his advice to budding Chinese defensemen and ... being pals with Kobe Bryant?
Although the New York Islanders opened an office in Harbin in 2005 -- and selected Andong Song, the first Chinese-born draft pick in NHL history (6th round, 172nd overall) in 2015 -- pro hockey hasn't made much of a footprint in China until recently.
In the summer of 2016, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid became the first active NHL player to visit China on official business when he took a trip to Beijing that was sponsored by Canadian sports nutrition company BioSteel.
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- Canucks' pre-season China series part of NHL's international pushCBC.ca
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