Yao Ming

NHL looks at China as a 'very long-term relationship'

China wants to get its hockey program up to par before hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The NHL is using that as a starting point for a long-term vision to turn the country into a hockey nation.

The league is making the country of almost 1.4 billion people a top priority internationally. The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play exhibition games in Shanghai and Beijing in September, and the games and the Olympics are only the beginning of what the NHL hopes is a bigger investment.

"The way we're looking at it is it's really not about 2022. It's about 2032 and '42 and so on and really building the game," NHL executive vice president of...