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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the KHL

1. That all team members are required to bunk in dorms that are built into each
arena, prior to a game the next day. Ideally, this allows players to focus on the task at hand, rather than any domestic or social outlet. This isn’t quite as stringent as the Soviet era, where Central Red Army players were required to live and train together in a secluded facility for eleven months of the year.

2. That legendary National Team Coach; Viktor Tikhonov started his career as a defenceman for the Air Force team. His coach; Vasily Stalin; son of Joseph Stalin.

3. That many Soviet-era teams were made up of players from the army, KGB and trade unions. Moscow Dynamo was comprised of KGB agents, Spartak was made of of trade union members and Central Red Army was comprised of…you guessed it…army members.

4. That the emergence and strength of the KHL is partly due to the fledgling oil
and steel industries in Russia. Many oil and steel tycoons invest in or own a KHL franchise.

5. That despite the influx of money into the KHL from private ownership, some teams still struggle financially. Lada Togliatti is months behind on salaries owed to it’s players, after folding last season. Even the legendary franchise; Moscow Dynamo (described by Alexander Ovechkin as the “Montreal Canadians of the KHL),” folded after last season, leaving players, such as ex-NHLer Alexei Zhitnik in search of new employment.

6. That SKA St. Petersburg faired better than most NHL teams in the free agent
market this off-season. The KHL powerhouse signed Evgeni Nabokov, Maxim Afinogenov and Denis Grebeshkov to a roster that already included ex-NHLer’s Alexei Yashin, Sergei Zubov and Sergei Brylin.

7. That player salaries are typically tax free. In other words, when Ilya Kovalchuk is offered $14 million/year from SKA St. Petersburg, they mean $14 million per year. I should have practiced my slapshot a little more in my youth.

8. That the maximum number of foreign players allowed per team is five. This ensures the growth of young Russian players, who may otherwise be fighting for roster spots.

9. That teams that do not make the playoffs or who are eliminated early, are still
required to practice every day, as if the season was still on. Hey, still beats most day jobs!

10. That Amur Khabarovsk is located 3000 kms or almost 1900 hundred miles (or roughly the distance from Atlanta to Las Vegas), from it’s closest KHL “neighbour;” Metallurg Novotkuznetsk. You might want to bring your own pillow for the road trips.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Members Blog | Permalink



Very interesting piece. One of the secluded facilities that you mention in point 1 is halfway up a mountain just outside Almaty, in what is now Kazakhstan. I have had the chance to visit - it’s beautiful.

Posted by Darrenworldwide from Ottawa, Ontario on 08/31/10 at 09:27 PM ET


Thanks Darren!

That would have been an amazing trip!
It looks amazing there, from the pictures that I have seen!

Posted by Phil Davies from Ontario, Canada on 09/05/10 at 09:38 PM ET

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