Kontinental Hockey League update
Posted by simon c on 2008 May 20日 Tuesday
A good primer on the ongoing situation of the KHL startup by James Mirtle of the Globe.
This is the brainchild of Alexander Ivanovich Medvedev, a Russian oil baron and the vice-president of Gazprom, who has his heart set on creating a hockey league that can rival the NHL. But rather than take the best teams in Europe — let’s say Jokerit and HC Davos — or creating new teams, what’s happened so far is a modest expansion of the Super League and a new name.
The RSL had 20 teams last season, but for 2008-09, there’ll be 24, with three teams from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia, as well as a Russian club that was playing in a lower division, all joining the fray.
This is what the league will look like next season, as per Google Maps.
(In addition, the creation of the Continental Hockey League coincides with the start of the Champions League tournament, a high-profile new event to be played among the top 12 teams in Europe for the first time this fall. Here’s hoping that’ll be picked up on television in North America.)
Medvedev’s goal is to expand the KHL to 30 teams by the following season, using gobs of money to lure foreign teams from competing leagues like the Swedish Elitserien. Frölunda, one of Sweden’s richest and most successful teams, and Färjestad have been targeted already.
Medvedev has said teams from Austria, Finland and Germany have also shown interest in the KHL.
Färjestad’s club director Hakan Loob apparently recently travelled to Russia to discuss the specifics of a switch with KHL representatives. And the new league has a Swedish agent, Leif Nilsson, on board to work with the KHL.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a big hockey fan, is also apparently supportive of the move. Investment in hockey, and salaries, has consistently risen as oil and gas prices rise, as many of the former RSL’s ownership groups are energy-based mega-companies.
Here’s the map of the league’s clubs.
And the division structure:
|Bobrov Division||Tarasov Division||Kharlamov Division||Chernyshev Division|
|Salavat Yulaev Ufa||Metallurg Magnitogorsk||Avangard Omsk||AkBars Kazan|
|Dynamo Minsk||Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg||Lokomotiv Yaroslavl||Barys Astana|
|Spartak Moscow||Traktor Chelyabinsk||Lada Togliatti||Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod|
|Metallurg Novokuznetsk||HC MVD Balashikha||Sibir Novosibirsk||Vityaz Chekhov|
|Severstal Cherepovets||SKA St-Petersburg||Amur Khabarovsk||Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk|
|Atlant Mytischi||CSKA Moscow||Dinamo Riga||Dynamo Moscow|