Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara Make European Plans
Two more Boston Bruins have confirmed plans to play in Europe for the duration of the NHL lockout.
Patrice Bergeron will go to HC Lugano in the Swiss Nationalliga A, the same league that has taken in Tyler Seguin during the lockout. However, HC Lugano is located in the southern part of Switzerland, the Italian-speaking part, which might present a challenge to Bergeron, whose first language is French.
HC Lugano plays in the city of Ticino and was founded in 1941. The team celebrated its 70th anniversary last year and last won the Nationalliga A championship in 2006. (It has won seven championships overall.) Interestingly, Bergeron will find a familiar face in Ticino: Glen Metropolit, who played for the Bruins in 2007-08, is on the Lugano roster.
A translated Italian-language release about Bergeron’s deal mentions that it was made possible due to funding from people outside the Lugano organization.
Zdeno Chara will go to the KHL, but not the one KHL team based in his native Slovakia. Instead, he is headed for HC Lev Praha, the KHL team based in Prague, Czech Republic. However, that team is located fairly close to his hometown and he knows people in the area, according to his agent Matt Keator, who spoke to USA Today about the decision.
HC Lev Praha is much newer than HC Lugano–2012-13 is their inaugural season. The team was founded this year after an abortive attempt to get a KHL team in the Czech Republic resulted in that team moving to Slovakia, joining the KHL but disbanding after just one season. Lev Praha was born and shares arena space with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech league.
Two other NHL players, Jakub Voracek and Jiri Hudler, are also with Lev Praha for the duration of the lockout. However, Chara won’t be the only Slovak on the team: Marcel Hossa, the younger brother of Marian Hossa, plays for Lev Praha too. Hossa and Chara played together most recently at the 2012 World Championship.