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IIHF President Puts Cart In Front Of Horse, Telling NHL He Will Fight Expansion In Europe

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

On the stage, at the Air Canada Centre, Rene Fasel, the normally mild-manner dentist who doubles as the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, essentially told the NHL to stay out of Europe with whatever expansion plans it may have in the future.

“I will fight like hell and not allow anybody to come from abroad,” said Fasel Tuesday, when asked about the much-rumoured, but never actually articulated idea that European expansion is the NHL’s next frontier.

It was an unusually strong position for Fasel, a man known for his mediating and negotiating skill and overshadowed the other small admission that he made during Day 2 of the World Hockey Summit regarding future NHL participation in the Olympics.


Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rene+fasel


SYF's avatar

Instead, Fasel imagines in the future, “a European league, where we have five, six teams from Sweden and the KHL together with the Finns, the Germans, the Swiss and then try to have a European champion and having this European champion play the Stanley Cup winner. That would be, for the hockey fans, music.”

Sounds ambitious.  I would imagine that if the Euro leagues agree to this, it would probably mean that they’ll either add more games to their current 60-some odd game schedules OR cut their schedule play in half and play about 20-30 games just in tournament play alone to determine an overall European Champion to play the Stanley Cup Champs.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 08/24/10 at 04:19 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I have no interest whatsoever in the NHL playing any Euro teams.

The best imports, North Americans, best in the *world* already play in the NHL.  End.  Of.  Story.

Fasel can take his Euro leagues and stuff them.

Posted by Primis on 08/24/10 at 04:24 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

If the NHL expands to Europe that is when I will say goodbye to professional hockey.

Nothing against Europe, but the league is fine as it is. In fact, it needs to shed (not relocate) a franchise or two. I am getting tired of the constant tinkering with the game.

The CHL and NCAA hockey will do just fine if the NHL continues to believe it must redefine the league and the game at every turn.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 08/24/10 at 04:37 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

I’ve thought for years that the eventual goal (for Bettman, the KHL and IIHF) is a global league with the winner of the North American Conference playing the winner of the European Conference in—for lack of a better name—the “World Series of Hockey.”

Sure, there would definitely be difficulties associated with travel, player movement, relegation (could help explain why they’re so intent on keeping Phoenix and other weak franchises alive) and other issues, but think of the legacy it would create for Gary, Rene, et al…

the world’s first global sports league (oooooh).

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 08/24/10 at 04:48 PM ET


The best imports, North Americans, best in the *world* already play in the NHL.  End.  Of.  Story.

That’s a great theory, but for now it’s only words. If only there was some way to prove that the club that wins the Stanley Cup is the best in the world…

Posted by dzuunmod on 08/24/10 at 05:13 PM ET


Rene Fasel decides what type of international commerce and competition is allowed? Certinaly the NHL would not put their trophy under the stewardship of the IIHF. It would be great for Fasel and his gang, but would only hurt the NHL if the Stanley Cup resided in Helsinki or Moscow. Isn’t there already enough angst in Canada that it has been over decade without a Canadian winner?

Talk about competition for players, why come to the NHL if you can win it at home? Shouldn’t Rene be fighting tooth and nail then that the Swedish league not be overrun by the Eurasian KHL league?  Or is only North America a threat because it would be run by private industry not subject to his cronies and his pseudo-government organization.  IIHF, IOC, FIFA, meet the sports equivalent of the mafia.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/24/10 at 06:09 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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