MELBOURNE, VIC — Other than playing hockey, Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller can’t wait to see one more thing while in Australia.
“Kangaroo,” Keller said. “This is the first time here obviously but I’ve heard great things. It looks amazing. Super excited to be here to play the game and spend some time away from the rink, too.”
The Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings will play two exhibition games Saturday and Sunday in Melbourne as part of the NHL’s Global Series. Both teams brought NHL-heavy lineups to the Land Down Under, a roster construction that most teams don’t normally do in the preseason.
“It’s nice to basically have our full team here, spend time together and get to know everyone,” Keller said. “I think ultimately it helps you on the ice.
“It’s a great opportunity for the NHL to grow the game here and get more people into hockey. We play such a unique sport and a lot of people don’t realize how special it is and how fun it is to watch.”
Puck drop for the two exhibition games is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. MST on Friday and Saturday.
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The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.
The Cardinals have made the State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers also play at the Footprint. Phoenix has a soccer team with the USL’s Phoenix Rising FC.
The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football’s Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training.