It's kind of cool news, actually. I wouldn't be surprised if, as the press release indicated, hockey was kind of popular in the northern parts of China, so close to the Russian border. Here's part of the release, a quote from the executive director of the Asian network Yes TV, from the G&M story:
"The National Hockey League has great potential for development in Asia. We are thrilled to be able to bring another big American sport to Asian sports fans. . . Ice hockey is quite popular in the northern parts of China and its popularity is growing. The NHL represents the pinnacle of professional ice hockey and we are proud to be bringing the best of this exciting sport to the fans in China."Remember Jim Paek, born in South Korea, the only player of east-Asian heritage (that I know of) to play for the Ottawa Senators? Maybe this TV deal will see more South Korean players in the league. Probably not for a little while, though.