North American ice hockey league the NHL has signed a rights deal with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
Canadian newspaper the National Post said CCTV will broadcast 119 regular season games from the ongoing 2014-15 campaign on its CCTV 5 channel.
Twenty of these matches are to involve the Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is promoting the initiative during an official visit to China this week.
He has recorded an interview with CCTV discussing the NHL which will be broadcast during a forthcoming Maple Leafs game.
Harper said: “Modern hockey is something that Canadians not only invented but developed as a sport as a reflection of our values and of our country. We’ve never had a proprietary view of it. We have always encouraged the spread of the sport in all countries.”