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NHL wants to increase international play

League has plans for World Cup, more games in Europe, and a Champions League-style tournament.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL sent out an internal memo which detailed plans to increase revenue by $1 billion over the next three seasons. It will be done by increasing outdoor events, new TV contracts in Canada and, most importantly, a larger presence in the international hockey community.

The internal memo cites the following possibilities:

An increased presence in Europe, with more regular-season NHL games overseas, the return of the World Cup of Hockey - which, in 1996 and 2004, featured eight top national teams in a tournament in August - and plans for a Champions Cup competition between top European and NHL clubs.

A new World Cup has been in the discussion stages for years. Previously known as the Canada Cup, the league held the last two tournaments in U.S. and Canadian NHL arenas as well as select buildings in Europe. The United States won the 1996 event, while Canada took home the 2004 tourney.

More games in Europe would likely mean a revival of the NHL Premiere series. Held from 2007-2011, the Premiere games featured anywhere from 2-6 NHL teams beginning their regular seasons in various European series. Venues included London, Prague, Stockholm, Helsinki and Berlin. A fun aspect of those trips was that NHL teams would also play exhibitions against European clubs, likely the impetus for a "Champions Cup" tournament.

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