If you’ve recently seen hockey fans sporting their memorabilia, chances are it is out of mourning rather than anticipation.
Four days ago, the National Hockey League (NHL) locked out its players after they failed to settle on a collective bargaining agreement. The negotiations of this agreement aimed to restructure the division of revenue amongst the players, and to make other adjustments in the league.
Diehard fans have been struggling with the idea of an empty NHL schedule, but all hope is not lost.
Many NHL superstars have joined teams in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in reaction to the lockout.
As reported by USA Today’s Mike Brehm, KHL President Alexander Medvedev said, “The Kontinental Hockey League has decided to allow the National Hockey League players to play in the KHL Championship from the 20th of September.”
Washington’s star forward, Alexander Ovechkin, has signed with the KHL team Dynamo Moscow, while Ottowa defenseman Sergei Gonchar and Pittsburgh forward Evgeny Malkin will play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov both joined the team CSKA Moscow. The list goes on.
The 26-team KHL was founded four years ago and has since become one of the most competitive leagues outside of the NHL.
The KHL’s global marketing service provider, UFA Sports, reported on the KHL website (http://en.khl.ru/) that there has been, “a surge in interest among North American TV companies seeking to broadcast matches in the KHL Championship.”
Not every game may make the cut, so fans may only be able to watch KHL teams that feature NHL stars. Currently live broadcasts have been made available online (@http://livetv.ru/en/competitions/?c_167 or @http://tv.khl.ru/), but are only in Russian.
A KHL preview (http://www.ufasports.com/en/portfolio/product/detail/kontinental-hockey-league-khl/) video has been posted on UFA Sports’ website that should excite most hockey fans.