from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
There will be no Ukrainian team in the KHL next season as the hockey world begins to wonder about the effects of a long-term conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Donbass Donetsk — Ukraine’s only entry in the KHL — is on sabbatical for one season, a decision reached in June after the team’s arena was sacked, looted and set afire in May.
While most believe hockey will carry on as usual — or at least with blinders on — there is a belief that should tensions worsen, the KHL will suffer in terms of the level of play and from U.S. economic sanctions.
So far there has been no mass migration from the KHL, but it’s worth noting that the league’s signing season occurred largely before the current escalation that includes the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.
“I don’t anticipate that as a cause and effect at this point,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when asked about the possibility players would leave Russia. “I assume if the conflict is prolonged and/or worsens that may change, but I think it’s a fairly remote consideration for most players right now.”