KHL Expansion part II
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09-26-2013, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Originally Posted by
I'm the furthest thing from an expert on the markets the KHL is in, but I do know the league has great ambitions that include expanding into MANY countries they are not currently in, which would mean the league would be quite large by the time they were "done" with this expansion if they keep the teams they have now. Ultimately the league has a goal to be on par or greater than the NHL... having more teams than the NHL actually hurts that because the talent level would be spread too thin. Vorky even suggested above demoting teams to the VHL, wouldn't that be possible? I don't see how such a big league would be practical, unless they wanted to go make one big (64 team?) two sectioned league with promotion/relegation. Also, as the league grows expense would raise as well so possibly teams that are fine now could potentially struggle to keep up in a newer, bigger KHL team? Isn't there 5 teams in Moscow now, can those really all survive?
Another thing I find strange about the KHL is it seems to be trying to grow Russian hockey and be a pan-European force at the same time which is a bit contradictory. If you look at the NHL, it's primarily American teams, but that's only because the USA is a much bigger country than Canada with more big cities. Russia is the biggest hockey country in Europe for sure but if we go by population then a truly representative European hockey league shouldn't be Russian dominated. (Should be many more teams outside of Russia than in it... again this is problem if you're trying to keep a reasonable number of teams in the league, unless it becomes two-tiered.)
Regarding Sweden/Finland: The clubs in their domestic league are obviously steeped in tradition and have passionate followings. I said this in another thread, I believe that unlike Russia/old Soviet countries, there's never been a belief in those countries that they have the best club hockey in the world. As soon as it was discovered that Swedes & Finns were among the best hockey players in the world, they were over in the NHL & WHA playing with the "big boys". Russia has a tradition of strong clubs that could compete with anyone in the world as was seen in the 70's when the Red Army was walloping NHL teams- there understandably seems to be pride in restoring what was lost. Sweden/Finland never realistically had the option of playing in club leagues where their teams could be the best in the world... the KHL could theoretically offer that option, so it will be interesting to see what mentality wins out, being the best, or staying true to clubs that have decades/centuries of tradition.
The goal of the KHL is not to win a dick measuring contest with the NHL. The KHL has been around now 6 years and people still don't understand what they are trying to do? The KHL is trying to build a strong and integrated Pan European Hockey system. They are trying to merge European hockey markets, develop hockey in untapped locations and most importantly bolster the development and quality of European juniors. The KHL understands that in order to not be a victim of the NHL hockey monopoly it must take it's future in it's own hands.
I still can't believe the shortsightedness of people talking about the watering down of talent of the league. Did the NHL suffer long term when they moved from the original 6? Expanding top level hockey to new hockey markets will grow the sport, which in turn will grow player development. Tapping into established hockey markets will also do this. Don't forget that these KHL teams now come with MHL junior teams too. Player development is like a Pyramid scheme. The wider the base the better. The only thing that prevents a Sidney Crosby from Andorra or a Ovechkin from Moldova is opportunity and infrastructure. The KHL is bringing that infrastructure.
The Moscow team thing has been addressed. Vityaz is going to Sochi.
Please explain how developing a strong and unified European hockey system and integrating Russian teams into it is contradictory?
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