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Potential Kontinental Hockey League expansion: Map

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The potential of including addition franchises to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) has been an ongoing topic since the league's inception. It has been reported that the league seeks to expand to 30 teams.

Proposed pan-European league

In 2009, KHL proposed merging itself into a new league (called United Hockey Europe), to play across Europe starting in 2011.

Central Europe

The Czech Republicmarker's HC Energie Karlovy Vary has signed letters of intent with the KHL. Barring budget and payroll issues, they would have been able to compete for the 2009-10 season. However, they had to annul plans to join the league for the time being, due to the financial crisis of 2007–2009. The club intended to continue its operations in the Czech Extraleague, while creating an expansion franchise consisting of top Czech players to play in the KHL.

German teams Eisbären Berlin and Kölner Haie have been approached by the KHL but are currently not considering joining the league. The KHL also wants to expand to Austriamarker by affiliating EC Red Bull Salzburg. SKA Saint Petersburg General manager Barry Smith said that an affiliation may be possible in three or four years. Red Bull and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, however, favours playing in the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga..

Northern Europe

On 28 April 2009, it was reported that the Swedish teams HV 71, Linköpings HC, Färjestads BK, Frölunda HC and Djurgårdens IF (of which Färjestad and Frölunda have had offers previously from the KHL) broke their contracts with Elitserien's club association. This caused speculation as to whether they want to join the KHL or create a new league as an expansion of the Nordic Trophy. None of the clubs have officially said that they want to stop playing in Elitserien, although the seven remaining clubs have drawn such conclusions. The quarrel was at least temporarily resolved on 9 June 2009, when all clubs agreed to continue their operation in Elitserien through the 2010–2011 season.

According to Russia Today News, Finland's Kärpät is also interested.

In November 2009, the KHL and AIK Hockey from Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker signed a document announcing the invitation from KHL to AIK Hockey club to become a member of the KHL, and join the League’s Championship beginning from the 2010–11 season provided AIK observes all the terms and conditions, and meets all KHL admission criteria.

Eastern Europe

The Belarus Ice Hockey Federation has announced that it plans to include up to four Belarussian teams in the KHL, with league VP Vladimir Shalaev confirming the prospect of adding a second Belarussian KHL team for the 2009-10 season. Of these, Junost Minsk, along with HC Homiel (which may relocate to Babruyskmarker due to arena complications) of the Belarusian Extraleague, are actively taking steps to join the KHL. Ukraine's Sokil Kyiv is attempting to join, but financial issues have delayed a bid. They have a new 12,000 seat arena due in 2012.

Krylya Sovetov has declared interest to join the league for the 2010-11 season.

Another potential candidate city for expansion is Sochimarker. The 2014 Olympics will put lots of investment into the city, one result being the construction of the Bolshoi Palace arena. It is possible that the city may see a new team or relocated team there by the start of the olympics.

It is possible to see a new team in Vilniusmarker, Lithuaniamarker. In Autumn 2009, KHL's SKA and Bars Kazan played a exhibition game there, with more such games likely in the future. The main hurdles to be overcome for bringing a team there is funding, as well the fact that basketball is very popular in the region. The team will be called Vėtra Vilnius, and will be an expansion of the Sports Association Vėtra. [796218]

North Asia

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg replaced Khimik Voskresensk for the 2009-10 season. Gazovik Tyumen may join the league in coming years, whereas Vityaz Chekhov may leave the league.

Of the Russian Major League, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk has expressed interest in joining in the future, with ownership hoping to ascend by 2013 or beyond. By the end of 2008 they planned to have a 5,500 capacity arena completed to meet KHL specifications. The low population of this area, however, makes it highly unlikely a team will ever garner enough interest to warrant such an investment.

The Island of Sakhalinmarker in the Russian Far East might receive a team in the future. HC Rys', of the Russian Major League, is in negotiations to relocate the team there. Yuzhno-Sakhalinskmarker, the largest city on the island, has a population of almost 200,000. There are plans to build an arena two years from Autumn 2009.

Kazzinc-Torpedo, currently playing in the Russian Major League, has been in negotiations to join the KHL. The club, formerly known as Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, used to play in the highest division during the Soviet era. Torpedo has typically been the most dominant developmental club in Kazakhstan. Most Kazakh players who have reached the NHL trace their roots to Torpedo.

Teams involved to date



References

  1. http://www.hokejkv.cz/clanek.asp?id=4365
  2. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601077&sid=aZ7cLyu.Wkvo Published May 17, 2009, looked at May 19, 2009.
  3. Swede dreams. en.khl.ru, November,19 2009
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
  6. [3]
  7. http://allhockey.ru/news/54419/
  8. http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/article/going-east-and-west.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=10&cHash=ddf1662d57
  9. http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/article/going-east-and-west.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=10&cHash=ddf1662d57
  10. http://www.hc-avto.ru/?dir=news.php&id=199
  11. http://allhockey.ru/khl/news/53332/
  12. http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/article/going-east-and-west.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=10&cHash=ddf1662d57
  13. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=401105
  14. http://www.gazovik.tyumen.ru/cgi-bin/news.cgi?action=view&id=1567
  15. http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/7/30/13723.html
  16. http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/11/19/23723.html



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