The NHL has its eyes on Mexico in an effort to expand its Latin American fan base.
While an expansion team is unlikely right now, a preseason or regular-season game in Mexico could be a reality.
“We have to stop relying on people wanting to choose hockey on their own,” retired Cuban NHL goalie Al Montoya told ESPN. “We have to go to where they are.”
The NHL has taken steps to engage with Latin culture in recent years, launching a Spanish-language website in 2019, and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month for the first time a year later.
Other U.S. leagues have ventured south of the border for decades:
- The NFL International Series has hosted games in Mexico since 2016, after a one-off effort in 2005.
- The NBA Global Games have brought a mix of preseason and regular-season contests to Mexico City since 1992.
- A handful of MLB games have been played in Mexico since 1996.
- In 2019, MLS and Liga MX launched the Leagues Cup featuring clubs from both countries.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently said the league expects to generate more than $5 billion in revenue during the 2021-2022 season as it returns from pandemic lows.