Kontinental Hockey League

Kontinental Hockey League
Current season, competition or edition:
2018–19 KHL season
Formerly Russian Superleague
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 2008
President Dmitry Chernyshenko
Motto Хоккей – наша игра! Khokkey – nasha igra! Jääkiekko on meidän peli! (Hockey is our game!)[1]
No. of teams 25
Country
Most recent
champion(s)
Ak Bars Kazan (3rd title)
Most titles Ak Bars Kazan (3)
TV partner(s)
Related
competitions
Official website en.KHL.ru

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) (Russian: Континентальная хоккейная лига (КХЛ), Kontinental'naya hokkeynaya liga) is an international professional ice hockey league founded in 2008. It comprises 25 member clubs based in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Russia, and Slovakia and it is planned to expand to more countries. It is widely considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in Europe and Asia, and second in the world behind the NHL.[7][8] KHL has the third highest average attendance in Europe with 6,121 spectators per game in the regular season,[9] and the highest total attendance in Europe with 5.32 million spectators in the regular season.[10]

The Gagarin Cup is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The title of Champion of Russia is given to the highest ranked Russian team.[11]

History

Establishment

The league formed from the Russian Superleague (RSL) and the champion of the 2007–08 season of the second division, with 24 teams: 21 from Russia and one each from Belarus, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. The teams were divided into four divisions, based on the performance in previous seasons.

The start of the fourth season was overshadowed by the Yaroslavl air disaster on 7 September 2011 in which almost all members of the team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl lost their lives shortly after take-off for their flight to their season opening game in Minsk. The Opening Cup game in Ufa, which was already under way when news of the disaster arrived, was suspended. In memory of the disaster, 7 September remains a day of mourning on which no KHL regular season games are held.[12]

Team changes

In the 2009–10 season, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg joined the KHL and Khimik Voskresensk was transferred to a lower league. Next season, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk joined the league.

After several attempts by teams from Central Europe and Scandinavia to join the KHL, expansion beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union was finally realized in 2011. Lev Poprad, a newly founded team based in Poprad, Slovakia was admitted to the league. But after only one season, Lev was replaced by a team of the same name, Lev Praha, from Prague, Czech Republic, while Slovan Bratislava from Bratislava, Slovakia and Ukraine's Donbass from Donetsk joined the KHL as expansion teams for the 2012–13 season.[13] Lev and Slovan qualified for the playoffs in their first KHL season.

In 2013, Medveščak from Zagreb, Croatia, previously playing in the Austrian Hockey League, and Russian expansion team Admiral Vladivostok joined the league, thus expanding the league even further.[14] The league comprised 28 teams during the 2013–14 season, of which 21 were based in Russia and 7 located in the other countries.

In 2014, Finnish team Jokerit from Helsinki, Lada Togliatti (which previously played in the league), and newly created team HC Sochi joined the league.[15] However, HC Donbass did not play in the league for the 2014–15 season, due to the political instability in Ukraine, but had intended to rejoin later.[16] Two other teams, Lev Praha and Spartak Moscow, also withdrew from the 2014–15 season due to financial problems.[17][18]

Prior to the 2015–16 season, Atlant Moscow Oblast withdrew from the KHL due to financial issues, while Spartak Moscow returned after a one-year hiatus.[19]

The newly created Chinese club HC Kunlun Red Star from Beijing was admitted for the 2016–17 season.[20] Prior to the 2017–18 season, Medveščak Zagreb withdrew from the league to rejoin the Austrian league and Metallurg Novokuznetsk was sent down to the VHL.[21]

2018 Winter Olympics

Because the National Hockey League refused to release its players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea,[22] 92 out of 300 total players participating at the Olympic hockey tournament were playing at the KHL.

Season structure

Original logo in Latin script and Cyrillic script until 2016

Since 2009, the league has been divided into East and West conferences. In the current season, the Western Conference includes 14 teams divided into two divisions, 7 teams per division. The Eastern Conference has 15 teams, divided into divisions of 7 and 8 respectively. In this season, each team played every other team once at home and once on the road, giving a total of 56 games (28 at home, 28 on the road), plus 4 additional games (2 at home, 2 on the road) played by each team against rival clubs from its own conference. Thus, each team played a total of 60 games in the regular season.[23]

The eight top-ranked teams in each conference receive playoff berths. Within each conference quarterfinals, semifinals and finals are played before the conference winners play against each other for the Gagarin Cup. The division winners are seeded first and second in their conference, based on their regular season record. All playoff rounds are played as best-of-seven series. In each round, the top seeded remaining team is paired with the lowest seeded team etc.[24]

In the 2012–13 season, the Nadezhda Cup (Cup of Hope) was introduced, a consolation tournament for the teams who did not qualify for the playoffs. The winning team in the tournament wins the first overall pick in the KHL Junior Draft. The tournament is intended to extend the season and help maintain interest in hockey in the cities of these teams, and help players of national teams prepare for upcoming World Championships.[25]

Teams

Western conference teams (Divisions: : Bobrov, : Tarasov, : Moscow and Moscow Oblast: see separate Map)
Moscow Oblast teams (Divisions: : Bobrov, : Tarasov)
Division Team City Arena Capacity Founded Joined Head Coach Captain
Western Conference
Bobrov Dinamo Riga Riga Arena Riga 10,300 2008 Ģirts Ankipāns Gints Meija
Dynamo Moscow Moscow VTB Ice Palace 12,000 1946 2008 Harijs Vītoliņš Yuri Babenko
Jokerit Helsinki Helsinki Hartwall Arena 13,349 1967 2014 Erkka Westerlund Peter Regin
Severstal Cherepovets Cherepovets Ice Palace 6,000 1956 2008 Václav Sikora Andrei Shefer
SKA Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg Ice Palace Saint Petersburg 12,300 1946 2008 Andrei Nazarov Ilya Kovalchuk
Spartak Moscow Moscow Luzhniki Minor Arena 8,700 1946 2008 German Titov Maksim Potapov
Tarasov CSKA Moscow Moscow CSKA Ice Palace 5,600 1946 2008 Dmitri Kvartalnov Denis Denisov
Dinamo Minsk Minsk Minsk-Arena 15,000 2004 2008 Ľubomír Pokovič Alexei Kalyuzhny
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Yaroslavl Arena 2000 9,000 1959 2008 Alexei Kudashov Ilya Gorokhov
Slovan Bratislava Bratislava Ondrej Nepela Arena 10,115 1921 2012 Vladimír Országh Andrej Meszároš
Sochi Sochi Bolshoy Ice Dome 12,000 2014 Sergei Zubov Andrei Pervyshin
Vityaz Moscow Oblast Podolsk Vityaz Ice Palace 5,500 1998* 2008 Oleg Orekhovsky Slava Solodukhin
Eastern Conference
Kharlamov Ak Bars Kazan Kazan TatNeft Arena 10,000 1956 2008 Zinetula Bilyaletdinov Alexander Svitov
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg Yekaterinburg KRK Uralets 5,500 2006 2009 Andrei Razin Sergey Gusev
Metallurg Magnitogorsk Magnitogorsk Arena Metallurg 7,700 1950 2008 Mike Keenan Sergei Mozyakin
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk Nizhnekamsk SCC Arena 5,500 1968 2008 Vladimir Krikunov Maxim Rybin
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Nizhny Novgorod Trade Union Sport Palace 5,500 1947 2008 Pēteris Skudra Vadim Khomitsky
Traktor Chelyabinsk Chelyabinsk Traktor Sport Palace 7,500 1947 2008 Andrei Nikolishin Stanislav Chistov
Chernyshev Admiral Vladivostok Vladivostok Fetisov Arena 7,500 2013 Alexander Andrievsky Oskars Bārtulis
Amur Khabarovsk Khabarovsk Platinum Arena 7,100 1966 2008 Sergei Shepelev Dmitri Tarasov
Avangard Omsk Omsk Omsk Arena 10,318 1950 2008 Evgeny Kornoukhov Denis Kulyash
Barys Astana Astana Barys Arena 12,000 1999 2008 Yerlan Sagymbayev Brandon Bochenski
Salavat Yulaev Ufa Ufa Ufa Arena 8,400 1957 2008 Igor Zakharkin Igor Grigorenko
Sibir Novosibirsk Novosibirsk Ice Sports Palace Sibir 7,400 1962 2008 Andrei Skabelka Alexei Kopeikin
Red Star Kunlun Beijing Cadillac Arena 14,000 2016 Vladimir Yurzinov Jr. Janne Jalasvaara

a Lada Togliatti formerly played in Kontinental Hockey League from 2008/09 to 2009/10.

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

Players

Though now not as restrictive in maintaining an exclusively Russian composition of players and teams, Russian teams are still not allowed to sign more than five foreign players, while non-Russian teams must have at least five players from their respective country. Foreign goaltenders on Russian teams have a limit regarding total seasonal ice time.[26]

Prior to the inaugural season, several KHL teams signed several players from the NHL.[27] 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),[28] leading to an investigation by the International Ice Hockey Federation.[29] On 4 October 2010, the conflict between the leagues was settled when both signed a new agreement to honor one another's contracts.[30]

The league set up rules for the NHL lockout which lasted from 16 September 2012 to 12 January 2013. According to the special regulations, each KHL team was allowed to add up to three NHL players to its roster, among them at most one foreign player.[31] More than 40 NHL players, the majority of them Russians, played in the KHL during the lockout.

KHL players are represented by the Kontinental Hockey League Players' Trade Union.[32]

Nationalities of players

During the current season, players representing 16 nations have played at least one game in the KHL.[33] A player's nationality is for various reasons sometimes ambiguous. For the table presented below, the nationality "is determined based on the last country that the player represented in international competition. If a player has never played for a national team, usually the country of birth is chosen as the player nationality, unless there is strong evidence indicating otherwise".[34] For players born in former Soviet republics, the situation is often more complex due to dual citizenship and naturalization. Therefore, a list of players born in Ukraine gives case-by-case details for some of those players. In some cases, players can change their nationality registration with the league on a year-by-year basis, and their nationality with the league may not match that of their International Ice Hockey Federation registration. Non-Russians represent about 40% of the KHL players, and are mostly Central European, Nordic, and North American. In 2015–16, more than 950 players played in the league (see table below).

Country (current number of teams)Players active
(2012–13)[35]
Players active
(2013–14)[36]
Players active
(2014–15)[37]
Players active
(2015–16)[38]
Belarus (1 team)33404538
Canada36695641
Croatia (1 team)322
Czech Republic46472935
Denmark124
Finland (1 team)40375047
France11
Germany1331
Italy1
Kazakhstan (1 team)30292836
Latvia (1 team)a35322933
Norway3331
Russia (22 teams)540573594634
Slovakia (1 team)51433227
Slovenia244
Sweden24222827
Ukraineb111233
United States13202721
Total863909936956

Trophies and awards

The winner of the playoff is awarded the Gagarin Cup, the KHL Champion title and the Russian Champion title, regardless of the country the club represents. The team ranked first in the standings after the regular season, i.e. the winner of the regular season, is awarded the Continental Cup[39] (Russian: Кубок Континента, Kubok Kontinenta). The winners of the conference finals are awarded the Eastern Conference Champion Cup (Russian: Кубок Победителю конференции Восток, Kubok Pobeditelyu konferentsii Vostok) and the Western Conference Champion Cup (Russian: Кубок Победителю конференции Запад, Kubok Pobeditelyu konferentsii Zapad).[40]

The KHL presents annual awards to its most successful players. The KHL also awards the Opening Cup annually to the winner of the first game between the Gagarin Cup winner and the runner-up of the previous season. On September 10, 2011, three days after the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, the KHL head office decided to honor the deceased in the 2011 Opening Cup.[41]

Seasons overview

Season Gagarin Cup Winner Gagarin Cup finalistFinal scoreContinental Cup WinnerTop scorer
2008–09Ak Bars KazanLokomotiv Yaroslavl4–3Salavat Yulaev Ufa* (129 points)Sergei Mozyakin (76 points: 34 G, 42 A)
2009–10Ak Bars KazanHC MVD4–3Salavat Yulaev Ufa (129 points)Sergei Mozyakin (66 points: 27 G, 39 A)
2010–11Salavat Yulaev UfaAtlant Moscow Oblast4–1Avangard Omsk (118 points)Alexander Radulov (80 points: 20 G, 60 A)
2011–12Dynamo MoscowAvangard Omsk4–3Traktor Chelyabinsk (114 points)Alexander Radulov (63 points: 25 G, 38 A)
2012–13Dynamo MoscowTraktor Chelyabinsk4–2SKA Saint Petersburg (115 points)Sergei Mozyakin (76 points: 35 G, 41 A)
2013–14Metallurg MagnitogorskHC Lev Praha4–3Dynamo Moscow (115 points)Sergei Mozyakin (73 points: 34 G, 39 A)
2014–15SKA Saint PetersburgAk Bars Kazan4–1CSKA Moscow (139 points)Alexander Radulov (71 points: 24 G, 47 A)
2015–16Metallurg MagnitogorskCSKA Moscow4–3CSKA Moscow (127 points)Sergei Mozyakin (67 points: 32 G, 35 A)
2016–17SKA Saint PetersburgMetallurg Magnitogorsk4–1CSKA Moscow (137 points)Sergei Mozyakin (85 points: 48 G, 37 A)
2017–18Ak Bars KazanCSKA Moscow4–1SKA Saint Petersburg (138 points)Ilya Kovalchuk (63 points: 31 G, 32 A)

*: In the first season, Salavat Yulaev Ufa was the winner of the regular season, but the Continental Cup was not yet awarded.

SeasonOpening Cup WinnerNadezhda Cup WinnerGold Stick Award (MVP)
2008–09Salavat Yulaev Ufa Nadezhda Cup not yet introducedDanis Zaripov
2009–10Ak Bars KazanAlexander Radulov
2010–11Dynamo MoscowAlexander Radulov
2011–12Salavat Yulaev UfaAlexander Radulov
2012–13Dynamo MoscowDinamo RigaSergei Mozyakin
2013–14Dynamo MoscowAvangard OmskSergei Mozyakin
2014–15Metallurg MagnitogorskCancelled due to economic reasonsAlexander Radulov
2015–16CSKA MoscowNot contestedSergei Mozyakin
2016–17Metallurg MagnitogorskSergei Mozyakin
2017–18SKA Saint PetersburgJustin Azevedo

Statistics

Single season records

Career records

KHL's longest match

Match time Date Match Home Visitor Result Overtime goal scorer
142.09 22.3.2018 5. Conference Semi-Finals CSKA Jokerit 1-2 Mika Niemi

All-time team records

Since its foundation in 2008, 35 different clubs have played in the KHL, and 32 of them have at least once qualified for the playoffs. Of the 24 founding teams, only Metallurg Novokuznetsk and Khimik Voskresensk had never qualified for the playoffs (both are no longer in the league). The table gives the final regular-season ranks for all teams, with the playoff performance encoded in colors. The teams are ordered by their best championship results.

 [a]: Includes record of Dynamo Moscow before the merger with HC MVD in 2010

 [b]: Did not participate in the 2011–12 season due to the deadly air disaster on September 7, 2011, that killed the entire team

Attendance statistics

Total and average attendance in seasons, including play-off.[44]

SeasonTotal AttendanceAverage Attendance
2008–093,670,3935,007
2009–104,211,8365,661
2010–114,287,2796,064
2011–124,313,4556,127
2012–134,776,7926,285
2013–145,195,7626,192
2014–156,064,8926,592
2015–165,914,6666,429
2016–175,952,4266,305

All-Star Game

The Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game is an exhibition game held annually in the midway point (usually January or February) of the season, with the league's star players playing against each other. Previously played Russian players versus the "rest of the world", now it is Eastern versus Western Conference.

See also

Preceded by
Russian Superleague
Kontinental Hockey League
2008present
Succeeded by
none

References

  1. Новый игровой ролик КХЛ "Пробка" (in Russian). khl.ru. Archived from the original on 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  2. "Crossing the Atlantic". khl.ru. 2010-04-20.
  3. "Kontinental Hockey League And TV Channel Sport Ratified An Agreement On KHL Championship Games Broadcast In 2009/2010 Season". en.khl.ru. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  4. "Kontinental Hockey League Signed An Agreement With Viasat". khl.ru. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  5. "Jágr a KHL budou v televizi. Práva koupil Nova sport". Týden.cz. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  6. "KHL Creates Hockey Premier League". March 22, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  7. "World of difference for KHL?". iihf.com. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  8. "Ranking the Top Ten Hockey Leagues". The Hockey Writers. 10 January 2015.
  9. "KHL is on the 3rd place by attendance". IIHF. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  10. "Хоккей. КХЛ. Регулярный чемпионат 2016/2017 - Факты". Championat.com.
  11. "About the KHL". khl.ru.
  12. "Day of Remembrance in honor of Lokomotiv". 2013-09-07. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
  13. "Lev from Slovakia to Prague". IIHF.com. 2012-03-30. Archived from the original on 2013-08-24.
  14. "Medveščak to join the league from 2013–14 season". khl.ru. 2013-04-29.
  15. "Welcome, Jokerit and Sochi; welcome back, Lada". 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  16. "Donbass to miss 2014–15 season". 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  17. "Naděje vyhasla. Lev Praha definitivně končí v KHL". 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  18. "У министра конструктивная позиция по легионерам". 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  19. League confirms format for 2015–16 season
  20. KHL (2016-06-25). "It's Official! Kunlun Red Star joins the KHL". en.KHL.ru. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  21. "League confirms list of participant clubs for 2017-18 Championship". Khl. 25 May 2017.
  22. "NHL will not participate in 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  23. "League confirms format for 2015–16 season". 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  24. "KHL Championship – Russian Ice Hockey Championship 2012/2013. Stage 2 Guidelines" (PDF). khl.ru. 2012-06-27.
  25. "Cup of Hope". khl.ru. 22 January 2013.
  26. "Навстречу Федерации, во имя Сочи". khl.ru. 2012-04-11.
  27. "404". TSN. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  28. "Sports News & latest headlines from AOL". AOL.com. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  29. Predator inks debatable deal – iihf.com Archived 2008-12-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. "NHL signs agreement with KHL". ESPN.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  31. "Door opens for NHL men". khl.ru. 2012-09-17.
  32. "Kontinental Hockey League Players' Trade Union" (in Russian). Kontinental Hockey League. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  33. "KHL Totals by Nationality – 2013–14 Stats". quanthockey.com.
  34. "QuantHockey FAQ: How is player nationality determined?". quanthockey.com.
  35. 2012–13 KHL season, Quanthockey, Retrieved 24 April 2015
  36. 2013–14 KHL season, Quanthockey, Retrieved 24 April 2015
  37. 2014–15 KHL season, Quanthockey, Retrieved 24 April 2015
  38. 2015–16 KHL season, Quanthockey, Retrieved 28 April 2016
  39. "Ufa's first trophy". khl.ru. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  40. "Новые трофеи Лиги". khl.ru. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  41. "Официальное заявление КХЛ : Континентальная Хоккейная Лига (КХЛ)". Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  42. 1 2 3 4 "Kontinental Hockey League Records".
  43. "A day for the history books. Helsinki Ice Challenge. December 2". en.khl.ru. 2 December 2017.
  44. "Хоккей. КХЛ. Регулярный чемпионат 2016/2017 - Факты". Championat.com.
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