|KHL Aiming to be Biggest Hockey League in the World|
Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:05
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) wants to become the world’s biggest hockey league in two years' time by more than doubling in size to 64 teams and conquering western Europe, league president Alexander Medvedev said Wednesday.
Medvedev wants the huge league to be operational in time for the 2013-14 or 2014-15 season, he said, adding that it would relegate national leagues to farm status.
“To create a top-notch international competition is necessary,” Medvedev told the IIHF Hockey Forum in Barcelona, in comments on the IIHF website.
A grand final against the Stanley Cup winners would allow Europe to rival the NHL, he said.
“We need to create a pan-European system for the talent in Europe and set up a super-competition between the winners of the Stanley Cup and Europe to define the best team in the world.”
Russia and other former Soviet countries would form a 32-team Eastern Conference, Medvedev said.
The other 32 teams would make up a European Conference, with 16 from Scandinavia and 16 from countries as diverse as Italy, the Czech Republic and Great Britain.
A 62-game regular season would be the norm, with 32 teams qualifying for a five-round playoff.
Unlike some national leagues in Europe, such as in Switzerland, teams could not be relegated to a lower division for poor performance, Medvedev said, adding that this would make teams financially stable.
An operational budget of 15 million euros ($18.8 million) would be enough for a team to compete, he said.
The KHL was established in 2008 featuring teams from four countries; Russia, Belarus, Latvia and Kazakhstan.
Next season’s competition will boast 26 teams from seven countries, more than ever before, although 20 of the teams are based in Russia.
Next season the KHL will have a salary cap of $36 million. This compares to $64.3 million last season in the NHL, which features 30 teams.