KHL President Medvedev Frustrated By Snub From Champions Hockey League
The exact reasons why the KHL is not participating in the restored Champions Hockey League remain a mystery, but there is frustration and hints of rivalry between the two tournaments in Russia. While the Int'l Ice Hockey Federation said that there were “different reasons” why KHL would not take part in the Champions League, KHL President Alexander Medvedev expressed his frustration, saying, “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.” KHL declined to make any further comments.
DRIVEN BY 'JEALOUSY': KHL Spartak Moscow coach Fyodor Kanareikin said the Champions League’s organizers probably saw some rivalry on the part of KHL. “Maybe, [the champions’ league] was formed specifically as competition to our league, as a reaction to KHL’s expansion into Europe and likely joining of new squads. The IIHF management seems to be jealous of KHL.” Incidentally, the Finnish squad Jokerit, which is joining the KHL as of next season, is to become the league’s first team from outside the former Socialist bloc. Russian oligarchs Gennady Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg own a 49% share in the squad and fully control its home arena, Hartwall. Jokerit was initially expected to play in the Champions League next season.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.