Speculation as to NHL expansion to Europe took place as far back as the 1960s. David Molson, then-owner of the Montreal Canadiens, stated that he looked forward to a “world playoff ” for the Stanley Cup. In 1969, Clarence Campbell, president of the NHL, was quoted as saying ” It is conceivable that the Stanley Cup will be played for in Moscow in the not too distant future. When it does, the World Tournament as we know it will just disappear … The game will continue to expand.”
While no specific European cities have been named in recent years, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has stated in 2008 already that expansion into Europe is a possibility “within 10 years time.”
According to TheScore on July 24, 2013, in a new interview with Slava Malamud for the Russian sports site Sports-Express, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly addressed the possibility of the NHL expanding to Europe. “Do we have plans to add European clubs? I do not think our view on this issue has changed over recent years,” said Daly, adding, “it’s a real possibility, and in due time it will be seriously considered.”
NHL expansion into Europe would create a business opportunity for the premiere North American professional hockey league and a direct competition with the Kontinental Hockey League. The KHL, a predominantly Russian league that already has clubs in eight countries and will expand into Finland at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.