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Blackhawks' Bickel to play in Europe

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 9:56 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — Bryan Bickell became the third Chicago Blackhawks player -- and first North American -- to head to Europe to play during the NHL lockout.

Bickell announced via Twitter (@bbicks29) on Tuesday night that he would play in Austria: "Tomorrow is the day I bring my skills over seas. #Austria"

The Web site for the Czech team, HC Znojmo, based in the Austrian League, confirmed Bickell's intention saying, "Znojmo hockey fans can look forward to a real treat" with Bickell on the team. The site also said Bickell inked a one-month contract with the "possibility of extension for both parties."

The winger joins Michael Frolik and Michal Rozsival, who are both playing in the Czech League, in Europe while the lockout continues with no end in sight. The 26-year Bickell, a native of Bowmanville, Ontario, had nine goals and 15 assists in 71 games last season for the Hawks.

Meanwhile, it's expected the NHL will announce possibly on Wednesday the cancellation of some regular-season games. Meetings between the league and NHL Players' Association have yielded little progress since the lockout began Sept. 15.

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