Sports Outside the Beltway

Kings European Tour Expansion

Looks as if the Kings’ opening day in London was just the begining. Now it is being rumored that the Kings will also play games in Austria and Slovenia.

The Kings are near an agreement to play two exhibitions in Salzburg, Austria, part of a two-day tournament before they open the 2007-08 NHL season in London, a hockey source in Europe said.

Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Hockey League is to play host to the four-team tournament. A spokesman for AEG, which owns the Kings, declined to comment, but the source in Europe said a deal was set and only awaiting final details.

The Kings will split their training camp between Southern California and Europe in September. They will open the regular season with two games at the O2 Arena in London, which was built by AEG, and probably will face the Ducks. The Vancouver Canucks are also being considered for those games.

Besides the tournament in Salzburg, the Kings expect to play other exhibitions in Europe, with one in Slovenia being considered. The Kings’ Anze Kopitar, the first Slovenian-born player to reach the NHL, is one of the top rookies this season.

Hopefully this doesn’t interfere with the fan favorite preseason ritual, Frozen Fury at the MGM Las Vegas. Although with Luc Robitaille planning and promoting a charity poker tournament for Frozen Fury 10, it is unlikely that the event is experiencing a planned cancellation. Not of this is set in stone until the official announcement which is expected in March sometime, but it hasn’t stopped season ticket holders in my section from starting to put together a travel package for all the games.

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