BEIJING (AP) " The NHL will play its first games in China this fall when the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks meet in Beijing and Shanghai.

The preseason games will take place Sept. 21 in Shanghai and Sept. 23 in Beijing. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the launch of the NHL China Games at a news conference Thursday morning at Le Sports Center.

China is expected to be a large focus of the league's international ventures. Next season, the NHL is playing two regular-season games in Sweden between the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators.

Bettman called it a historic moment for the league.

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