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SBD Global/April 3, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Champions Hockey League In Discussions With KHL To Join Competition For ’15-16 Season

The Champions Hockey League ceased operation in '09 after only one season.
The Champions Hockey League is in discussions with the Russia-based KHL to join the new European club competition as early as next year. Int’l Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel said, “While the KHL is not part of [the inaugural] season, we are in discussions for their participation as of the 2015-16 season.” The exact reasons why the KHL is not participating in the inaugural season of the revived CHL remain a mystery, but KHL President Alexander Medvedev expressed his frustration in an interview with SBD Global in December. He said, “We showed flexibility and were ready to make compromise and correct our league’s schedule so that it didn’t conflict with Champions League match days. The decision of the board [of the Champions League] is surprising. In addition, no reasonable explanations for that decision were voiced.” Kicking off a premier European club competition without participation from the continent’s biggest and arguably best league could hurt the CHL, even if the KHL’s exclusion lasts only for a year.

MADE TO LAST: The CHL, which will start in August and run through February, will feature the reigning national champions and the regular season winners from each of the six founding leagues (Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland), as well as 26 founding clubs. The CHL is the IIHF’s latest attempt at a European club competition. Fasel said that the new competition will fill the gap that was left by its predecessor, which operated under the same name. The old CHL lasted only for one season between ’08-09 and fell victim to the global economic crisis, among other factors. Despite this bad omen, Fasel believes that the new competition will be a success as it has a fundamentally different structure. “It’s a club-driven venture. Owned in majority by the clubs, further by the leagues and only to a minor part by the IIHF,” he said. “It gives the clubs the deserved ownership, but also the necessary responsibility and accountability to invest into this project. I believe this is the true key to success.”
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