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NEW YORK -- Aleksander Barkov and Roope Hintz will get to go home in November, and they're bringing their NHL teams with them.

"It's more than a dream come true because you don't even dream about this," said Barkov, the Florida Panthers captain. "This will probably be one of the best days in my life."

The NHL and NHL Players' Association, together with Live Nation, on Tuesday announced the 2024 NHL Global Series presented by Fastenal will start with the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils opening the season at O2 Arena in Prague, Czechia, on Oct. 4 and 5, followed by Barkov and the Panthers playing Hintz and the Dallas Stars at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, on Nov. 1 and 2.

Barkov grew up in Tampere. Hintz, the Stars center, is originally from Nokia, which is 15 minutes west of Tampere. He moved to Tampere when he was 10 years old and, like Barkov, still lives there in the offseason.

"First, you just want to play in the NHL, and then you get to play in your hometown in your home country and it's not an exhibition game, it's a real game, this is really great," Hintz said. "I'm pretty pumped to go play there."

The Global Series will also feature the Sabres playing a preseason game in Munich, Germany, against Red Bull Munich of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Germany, on Sept. 27. It will be the grand opening event at SAP Garden, Red Bull Munich's new home arena.

Sabres forward JJ Peterka is from Munich and played for Red Bull from 2019-21.

"I played there so many years and just to go back and play against them was really cool to hear," Peterka said. "The rumors have been out a lot and I got asked about it too, so I wasn't denying it. I've talked to a bunch of people from back home. They're super pumped as well."

The Sabres will go from Munich to Prague, where they will play the Devils to open the 2024-25 regular season.

Devils forward Ondrej Palat owns a home in Prague and spends part of his offseason there. He grew up about 3 1/2 hours away in Fredek-Mistek.

"With Tampa, I was in Stockholm [in 2019] and I saw how much how much it meant to Victor Hedman, my good friend," Palat said. "So, I was always thinking it would be cool to play in [the] Czech Republic, NHL, where my family can see me, my friends, and just to get that feeling of playing an NHL game in Prague."

Barkov previously played two Global Series games in Helsinki with the Panthers against the Winnipeg Jets (Nov. 1-2, 2018), but as impactful as that was for him, getting the chance to do it in Tampere has greater meaning because that is his hometown.

"Obviously, going to Helsinki, it's my home country so it's awesome, but to be able to go to my hometown where I grew up, where I started playing hockey, where I spend my summers and all my friends are there, my family is there, that's special," Barkov said. "I probably won't get to do this again in my life."

Panthers forwards Anton Lundell and Eetu Luostarinen, and defenseman Niko Mikkola, are from Finland.

Lundell is from Espoo, the same hometown as Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen, which is near Helsinki, or about 110 miles from Tampere.

Luostarinen is from Siilinjarvi, about 165 miles from Tampere. Mikkola is from northern Finland in Kiiminki, around 300 miles from Tampere.

"I mean, it's unreal, it feels amazing," Lundell said of the opportunity. "Growing up it's all about the dream, the NHL, the best league in the world. You hear and you see, but the games are on at tough times, most of them the middle of the night, so it's tough to see them live growing up. I'm really happy and excited to be able to play in my home country and some of my family that aren't able to travel anymore, my grandfather, it'll be fun to play in front of him."

Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said, "I think it's more special for us just understanding how important it is for those guys playing at home. That's what's firing us up and is going to get us super excited over there. Just to see our teammates as happy as they're going to be, that's what we're most excited about."

Hintz and Heiskanen are just as excited. They along with defensemen Esa Lindell and Jani Hakanpää are the Stars players from Finland. Heiskanen, Lindell (Vantaa) and Hakanpaa (Kirkkonummi) grew up outside of Helsinki.

"Just thinking about that, we have so many players from Toronto and every time we are there," Heiskanen said, "they have so many family and friends watching, and it'll be the same thing for us when we go to Finland and that's pretty cool for us. I always see those guys from Toronto or wherever, they're so excited to go there and play in front of their family and friends and now it's going to be possible for us too. It's great."

Tickets go on sale March 21 for the games in Prague and March 22 for the games in Tampere through Live Nation's website. Tickets for the preseason game in Munich go on sale May 7.

The games in Prague will be the eighth and ninth played at O2 Arena since 2008.

Nokia Arena in Tampere previously hosted NHL games in 2022, when the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets played there.

"We have to take all the guys to eat Finnish chicken wings and then I think we've got to get them some salmon soup and reindeer, and of course we have to go to a good sauna set up where you can get the heat really high," Hintz said. "I'm really pumped." senior draft writer Mike G. Morreale and independent correspondent Heather Engel contributed to this report

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