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Kontinental Hockey League

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Kontinental Hockey League
Current season or competition:
2009–10 KHL season
FormerlyRussian Superleague
SportIce Hockey
Founded2008
CommissionerAlexander Medvedev
MottoХоккей – наша игра! (Hockey is our game!)[1]
No. of teams24
Country(ies) Belarus (1 team)
 Kazakhstan (1 team)
 Latvia (1 team)
 Russia (21 teams)
Most recent champion(s)Ak Bars Kazan (1)
TV partner(s)KHL-TV (Russia (as part of the NTV Plus package), International (through KHL's website))
Russia 2 (Russia)[2]
Viasat (Finland, Sweden[2], Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)[3]
Nova Sport (Czech Republic, Slovakia)[4][5][6]
Official websiteKHL.ru
Related competitionsRussian Championship

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) (Russian: Континентальная Хоккейная Лига, Kontinentalʹnaya Khokkeĭnaya Liga) is an international professional ice hockey league in Eurasia founded in 2008. As of 2009, it is ranked as the strongest hockey league in Europe.[7][8]

The title of Champion of Russia, regardless of the nationality of the club, the KHL champion title and the Gagarin Cup, named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, are awarded annually to the league champion, following a 16-team playoff at the end of the regular season. Two teams from the KHL were guaranteed qualification into the Champions Hockey League season.

The league was formed in 2008 from a predecessor organization, the Russian Superleague (RSL). The RSL, in turn, was a successor to the Soviet Championship League, which was founded in 1946 with only five teams. The KHL began its operations with 24 teams, 21 of which are based in the Russian Federation with the remaining 3 located in Belarus, Latvia, and Kazakhstan.

Russians constitute a large majority of the players in the KHL because of its origins as the Soviet & Russian national league. A minority of the players are from other Eastern European and Northern European countries, with an influx of Canadians beginning to sign on with clubs as the league gains prominence. In 2009, there were 775 players in the league.[9]

Contents

Players

Though now not as restrictive in maintaining an exclusively Russian composition of players and teams, Russian teams are still prevented from signing more than five foreign players and can suit up no more than four in any single game. Foreign goaltenders have an additional limit regarding total seasonal ice time.

Prior to the inaugural season, several KHL teams have signed several players from the NHL.[10] A dispute between the two leagues over some of these signings was supposed to have been resolved by an agreement signed on July 10, 2008, whereby each league would honor the contracts of the other, but the signing of Alexander Radulov was made public one day after the agreement (though it was actually signed two days prior to the agreement taking effect),[11] leading to an investigation by the International Ice Hockey Federation.[12]

Notable active players

The top five point scoring players in the 2008–09 season were Sergei Mozyakin, Jan Marek, Aleksey Morozov, Danis Zaripov and Kevin Dallman. The top goal scorers were Jan Marek and Pavel Brendl with 35 each, followed by Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov (34). The top plus-minus rating went to Alexei Tereshchenko who was a +41. The top goaltenders (by wins) were Georgy Gelashvili (30), Alexander Eremenko (27), Konstantin Barulin (24), Martin Prusek and Vitali Eremeev (22).

Season structure

During the regular season, each team plays 56 games: four games against each of the teams in their own division (for a total of 20 games) and two games against each of the other teams (for a total of 36 games).

For the 2009–10 season, the play-off structure will be slightly adjusted, to reflect the splitting of the league into two conferences.[13]The eight top-ranked teams in each conference will receive playoff berths. Each conference will play quarterfinals, semifinals and finals before the two conference winner play against each other for the Gagarin Cup. The division winners are seeded 1 and 2 in each conference, based on their ranking relative to the other (like in the NHL). The first playoff round will be best-of-five series, and the final three rounds will be best-of-seven series. After each round, the top remaining seed will always be paired against the lowest remaining seed.

In the play-offs, overtime periods will last 20 minutes or until the sudden death goal. The number of overtime periods is not limited. Teams that failed to enter the playoffs will play their own tournament to determine the KHL junior draft first choice in 2010.

Current teams

For the 2009–10 season, the teams will be geographically aligned to aid travel conditions. The league will be divided into a western and an eastern conference, each containing two divisions of six teams. Khimik Voskresensk will be replaced by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, keeping the number of teams at 24.

DivisionTeamCity/AreaArenaCapacityFoundedJoined[1]Team Captain
Eastern Conference
ChernyshevAmur KhabarovskPlatinum Arena7,10019662006 Alexei Kopeikin
Avangard Omsk OmskOmsk Arena10,20019501991 Alexander Svitov
Barys AstanaAlatau Sports Palace5,53219992008 Kevin Dallman
Metallurg Novokuznetsk NovokuznetskKuznetsk Metallurgists SP8,04019491992 Maxim Galanov
Sibir NovosibirskIce Sports Palace Sibir7,40019622002 Alexander Boikov
Salavat Yulaev UfaUfa Arena8,40019571992 Vladimir Antipov
KharlamovAk Bars Kazan KazanTatneft Arena10,00019561992 Aleksey Morozov
Neftekhimik NizhnekamskSCC Arena5,50019681995 Andrei Ivanov
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg YekaterinburgKRK Uralets5,50020062009 Alexander Gulyavtsev
Lada Togliatti TolyattiVolgar Sports Palace2,90019761991 Yuri Petrov
Metallurg Magnitogorsk MagnitogorskMagnitogorsk Arena7,70019501990 Evgeny Varlamov
Traktor Chelyabinsk ChelyabinskYunost Sport Palace7,50019472006 Andrei Nikolishin
Western Conference
TarasovAtlant Moscow Region MytishchiMytishchi Arena7,0001953* Sergei Mozyakin
HC MVD BalashikhaBalashikha Arena6,0001949*2005 Alexei Kudashov
Vityaz Chekhov ChekhovIce Hockey Center 20043,3001998*2005 Chris Simon
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl YaroslavlArena 20009,00019491987 Ivan Tkachenko
Severstal CherepovetsIce Palace6,00019561989 Alexander Shinin
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Nizhny NovgorodTrade Union Sport Palace5,50019472007 Alexei Trochshinsky
BobrovCSKA Moscow MoscowCSKA Ice Palace5,6001946 Konstantin Korneev
Dynamo Moscow MoscowLuzhniki Small Sports Arena8,7001946 Alexei Zhitnik
Spartak Moscow MoscowLDS Sokolniki5,00019462007 Dmitry Upper
SKA Saint Petersburg Saint PetersburgIce Palace12,30019461992 Maxim Sushinski
Dynamo Minsk MinskMinsk-Arena15,00020042008 Ville Peltonen
Dinamo Riga RigaArena Riga10,3002008 Sandis Ozoliņš

An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise relocation. See the respective team articles for more information.

^ 1. Indicates when the club most recently ascended to the top level of ice hockey in Russia

Seasons

2008–09 Season

The first KHL season began on 2 September 2008. Winner of the regular season was Salavat Yulaev Ufa with 129 points from 56 games. Top scorer was Atlant's Sergei Mozyakin with 76 points (34 goals and 42 assists). The play-offs produced a major upset as the 16th placed team, Avangard Omsk defeated top seed Ufa in the first round. The Gagarin Cup was won by Ak Bars Kazan who defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in a seven games play-off final.

2009–10 Season

The second season sees several changes, most notably, the division will be aligned according to geographical criteria and Khimik Voskresensk will be replaced by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. The regular season started on 10 September 2009.

Trophies and awards

The winner of the Gagarin Cup is named both the KHL champion as well as the Russian Champion, regardless of the nationality of the club. The team that places highest in regular season standings, i.e. has the most points at the end of the regular season, is the winner of the regular season.

The KHL presents annual awards to its most successful players. In 2009, a total of 23 trophies in various categories were awarded. Among the winners were Danis Zaripov (regular season MVP), Alexei Morozov (play-off MVP) and Ilya Proskuryakov (rookie of the year).[14]

The KHL also holds an annual "Opening Cup" match between the Gagarin Cup winner and the runner-up. This year's game will be held on September 10 in Kazan.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ "КХЛ ТВ". khl.ru. http://www.khl.ru/tv/. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Kontinental Hockey League And TV Channel Sport Ratified An Agreement On KHL Championship Games Broadcast In 2009/2010 Season". en.khl.ru. http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/8/25/13755.html. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Kontinental Hockey League Signed An Agreement With Viasat". khl.ru. http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/3/31/13551.html. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  4. ^ "Nova Sport je blízko k uzavření kontraktu na hokejovou KHL". DigiZone.cz. http://www.digizone.cz/aktuality/nova-sport-je-blizko-k-uzavreni-kontraktu-na/. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  5. ^ "Jágr a KHL budou v televizi. Práva koupil Nova sport". Týden.cz. http://www.tyden.cz/rubriky/sport/hokej/kontinentalni-liga/jagr-a-khl-budou-v-televizi-prava-koupil-nova-sport_130407.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  6. ^ "KHL Games Broadcast In The Czech Republic And Slovakia". khl.ru. http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/7/24/13717.html. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  7. ^ KHL to match NHL in five years RT, 2009-05-15
  8. ^ "Russian league tops first CHL ranking". http://www.iihf.com/en/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/browse/3/article/russian-league-tops-first-chl-ranking-1.html. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  9. ^ http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/5/15/13643.html
  10. ^ Emery signs one-year deal with Russian team - tsn.ca
  11. ^ Radulov on His Return to Russia - NHL FanHouse
  12. ^ Predator inks debatable deal - iihf.com
  13. ^ KHL Board Of Directors Approved Championship Structure
  14. ^ Kontinental Hockey League Awarded Laureates Of 2008/2009 Season khl.ru, 2009-05-15
  15. ^ http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/8/18/13751.html

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