• NHL commisioner Gary Bettman

NHL commisioner Gary Bettman (Photo : Getty Images News)

Chinese groups are now holding discussions with advisers in Beijing and other parts of China about making initial investments with NHL clubs. They are looking for high-performing teams--such as the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, and Carolina Hurricanes--that can provide a huge return on investment.

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At least one of those buying groups is now discussing terms for a potential purchase.

"They're very much in the market, and trying to complete a transaction," said Alexander Jarvis, CEO of Blackbridge Cross Borders, which has connected Chinese investors with European soccer clubs. He said that the said group is "very much in the market" and "trying to complete" a deal.

NHL is used to having foreign team owners. The Tampa Bay Lightning used to be owned by Japanese, while the San Jose Sharks is owned by German Hasso Plattner.

The league's commissioner, Gary Bettman, said that the NHL doesn't have any restrictions based on national origin.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also reiterated that "there would be no issue with foreign investment in the league. They would be subject to the same ownership criteria as every other potential investor and subject to board of governors' approval, but anybody who has an interest in our league, we have an interest in them."

China is also looking to the NHL to help it achieve expertise, develop a hockey culture and popularize hockey in China before the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

The Chinese are hoping to strengthen its national hockey team and avoid being embarrassed during the 2022 Olympics. Consequently, the sport has vaulted into national prominence in China.

The Pyeongchang Games in South Korea next year have also fueled a desire in China to excel in winter sports.

Exhibition games between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings in Beijing and Shanghai are being prepared for September.

Bettman will fly to Beijing later this month to announce the games.

Bettman said that China is looking to build hundreds of rinks and arenas and for ways to propagate the game throughout the country.

It was announced earlier this year that NHL is open to staging games in China.