Kontinental Hockey League
|Current season or competition:
2013–14 KHL season
|Motto||Хоккей – наша игра! Khokkey - nasha igra! (Hockey is our game!)|
|No. of teams||28 (for 2013–14)|
|Country(ies)|| Russia (21 teams)
Belarus (1 team)
Kazakhstan (1 team)
Latvia (1 team)
Ukraine (1 team)
Czech Republic (1 team)
Slovakia (1 team)
Croatia (1 team for 2013–14)
|Most recent champion(s)||Dynamo Moscow (2nd title)|
|Most titles|| Ak Bars Kazan,
Dynamo Moscow (2 each)
|TV partner(s)||KHL-TV (Russia (as part of the NTV Plus package), USA and Canada (part of ViaNetTV), Latvia and international through KHL's website)
Russia 2, Sport 1 (Russian TV channel) (Russia)
Viasat (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)
TV6 (Latvia) (Latvia)
Nova Sport (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
Sport 1, Sport 2 (Czech Rep., Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova)
ESPN2, ESPN3, MSG Network (United States)
ESPN (UK) (United Kingdom, Ireland)
Premier Sports (United Kingdom)
Eurosport Asia-Pacific (Asia,Oceania)
Sportitalia 2 (Italy)
Sportklub (Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia)
|Related competitions||Russian Championship
Higher Hockey League (VHL)
Minor Hockey League (MHL)
|Official website||KHL.ru (English)|
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) (Russian: Континентальная хоккейная лига, Kontinental'naya khokkeynaya liga) is an international professional ice hockey league in Eurasia founded in 2008. It is commonly considered to be the strongest hockey league in Eurasia, and the second-best in the world.
The league was formed in 2008, from a predecessor organization, the Russian Superleague (RSL). The KHL began its operations with 24 teams. After minor changes in the composition of the Russian teams and even a reduction to 23 teams for two seasons, the league expanded to 26 teams for the 2012–13 season: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl returned after missing the 2011-12 season due to the air disaster in 2011, Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia and HC Donbass from Donetsk, Ukraine joined the league, while Lev Poprad were replaced by Lev Praha, a team with the same name, but based in Prague, Czech Republic. Thus, for the first time, the league consisted of 26 teams, of which 20 were based in Russia and 6 more are located in Belarus, Czech Republic, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia and Ukraine. In 2013–14, the league will consist of 28 clubs: on April 27, league management announced that another Russian club from Vladivostok will join, and two days later they confirmed Croatian side Medveščak Zagreb's transfer from the Austrian-based EBEL to the KHL, becoming the seventh non-Russian team in the league.
The winner of the 16-team playoff after the end of the regular season is awarded the Gagarin Cup, named after the first man to reach space and orbit the Earth, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The title of Champion of Russia is given to the highest ranked Russian team.
Russians constitute a large majority of the players in the KHL because of its origins as the Soviet and Russian national league. Players not from Russia represent a minority of 33% of the KHL players, and are mostly Eastern European (17.0%), Scandinavian (7.7%), and North American (4.6%). In 2011–12, there were 701 players in the league.
Despite the word "Continental" traditionally being spelled with a C and not a K in the English language, the KHL transliterates the word with a K to distinguish it from numerous leagues that are abbreviated as CHL, such as the Canadian Hockey League and the Central Hockey League, and so that its abbreviation can look similar in both the Cyrillic and Roman alphabets.
In 2012-13, the league was divided into two conferences, East (12 teams) and West (14 teams), and further into two divisions per conference. During the regular season, each team played 52 games: two games against each of the other teams and two extra games against a selected rival, normally the geographically closest team. With two new teams added, the alignment for 2013-14 is still to be confirmed.
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. In the playoffs, overtime periods last 20 minutes (or until a goal is scored). The number of overtime periods is not limited.
In the 2012–13 season, the Cup of Hope was introduced, a new consolation tournament for the teams who did not qualify for the playoffs (currently six teams from the Western Conference and four teams from the Eastern Conference). 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 preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The KHL was founded in 2008 with 24 teams, the 20 teams from the last season of the Russian Superleague as well as the champion of the 2007–08 season of the second division. In addition, one team each from Latvia, Belarus and Kazakhstan were included. The teams were divided into 4 divisions, based on the performance in previous seasons. The first season ended in April 2009 with Ak Bars Kazan becoming the first ever winner of the Gagarin Cup.
Introduction of conferences (2009)
In an effort to reduce the large travel distances for the teams, the second season saw the introduction of two conferences (East and West) and the re-alignment of the divisions according to geographical criteria. In the Gagarin Cup finals, teams from the East dominated with Ak Bars Kazan winning twice and Salavat Yulaev Ufa once.
Merger of two Moscow region teams (2010)
Yaroslavl air disaster (2011)
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 abandoned and the start of the season postponed by five days. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was forced to withdraw from the KHL season, but later played part of the VHL season and returned to the KHL in 2012.
Expansion to Central Europe (since 2011)
After several failed attempts of 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. Lev failed to reach the playoffs, but managed to draw considerable interest and sold out many of their home matches. After only one season, Lev was replaced by a team of the same name, Lev Praha, from Prague, Czech Republic, while Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia and Ukraine's HC Donbass joined the KHL as expansion teams. On 29 April 2013 it was announced that KHL Medveščak from Croatia is joining the league for the 2013–14 KHL season.
NHL lockout players (2012–13)
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. More than 40 NHL players, the majority of them Russians, played in the KHL during the lockout.
|Season||Duration||Gagarin Cup Winner||Gagarin Cup finalist||Continental Cup Winner||Top scorer|
|2008–09||2 September 2008 -
12 April 2009
|Ak Bars Kazan||Lokomotiv Yaroslavl||Salavat Yulaev Ufa* (129 points)||Sergei Mozyakin (76 points: 34 G, 42 A)|
|2009–10||10 September 2009 -
27 April 2010
|Ak Bars Kazan||HC MVD||Salavat Yulaev Ufa (129 points)||Sergei Mozyakin (66 points: 27 G, 39 A)|
|2010–11||8 September 2010 -
16 April 2011
|Salavat Yulaev Ufa||Atlant Moscow Oblast||Avangard Omsk (118 points)||Alexander Radulov (80 points: 20 G, 60 A)|
|2011–12||12 September 2011 -
25 April 2012
|Dynamo Moscow||Avangard Omsk||Traktor Chelyabinsk (114 points)||Alexander Radulov (63 points: 25 G, 38 A)|
|2012–13||4 September 2012 -
17 April 2013
|Dynamo Moscow||Traktor Chelyabinsk||SKA Saint Petersburg(115 points)||Sergei Mozyakin (76 points: 35 G, 41 A)|
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.
Prior to the inaugural season, several KHL teams signed several players from the NHL. 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), leading to an investigation by the International Ice Hockey Federation. On October 4, 2010, the conflict between the leagues was settled when both signed a new agreement to honor one another's contracts.
Notable active players
The top five point scoring players in the 2011–12 season were Alexander Radulov (63 pts), Tony Mårtensson and Vadim Schipachev (59 pts each), Brandon Bochenski (58 pts) and Kevin Dallman (54 pts). The top goal scorers were Brandon Bochenski with 27, followed by Alexander Radulov and Danis Zaripov (25 each), Maxim Pestushko (24) and Tony Mårtensson with 23. The top plus-minus rating went to Tony Mårtensson who was a +35. The top goaltenders (by wins) were Michael Garnett (29), Jakub Štěpánek (21), Rastislav Staňa and Chris Holt (20 each) and Karri Rämö (19).
Nationalities of players
During the last season, players representing 13 nations played at least one game in the KHL. 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." 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.
|Russia (20 teams)||510|
|Slovakia (1 team)||50|
|Czech Republic (1 team)||44|
|Latvia (1 team)||33a|
|Belarus (1 team)||29|
|Kazakhstan (1 team)||28|
|Ukraine (1 team)||11b|
a - For further information, see: List of Latvians in the KHL
b - For further information, see: List of Ukrainians in the KHL
An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise relocation. See the respective team articles for more information.
Single season records
|Points||80||Alexander Radulov (Ufa)||2010–11|
|Goals||35|| Jan Marek (Magnitogorsk)
Pavel Brendl (N. Novgorod)
Marcel Hossa (Riga)
Sergei Mozyakin (Magnitogorsk)
|Assists||60||Alexander Radulov (Ufa)||2010–11|
|Shots on goal||234||Kevin Dallman (Astana)||2011–12|
|Plus/minus||+45||Patrick Thoresen (Ufa)||2009–10|
|Penalty minutes||374||Darcy Verot (Chekhov)||2009–10|
|Wins (goaltender)||33||Karri Rämö (Omsk)||2010–11|
|Shutouts||9||Robert Esche (St. Petersburg)||2008–09|
|Points||22||Josef Vašíček (Yaroslavl)||2010–11|
|Goals||14||Mikhail Anisin (Dyn. Moscow)||2011–12|
|Assists||15|| Josef Vašíček (Yaroslavl)
Pavol Demitra (Yaroslavl)
Patrick Thoresen (Ufa)
Alexander Radulov (Ufa)
Denis Kokarev (Dynamo Msc)
|Shots on goal||82||Evgeny Kuznetsov (Chelyabinsk)||2012–13|
|Plus/minus||+16||Dominik Graňák (Dynamo Msc)||2012–13|
|Penalty minutes||69||Grigori Panin (Kazan)||2008–09|
|Wins (goaltender)||16||Alexander Eremenko (Dyn. Moscow)||2011–12
|Shutouts||5|| Georgi Gelashvili (Yaroslavl)
Michael Garnett (Chelyabinsk)
|Points||322||Alexander Radulov (Ufa)||2008–2013|
|Goals||143||Sergei Mozyakin (Mytishchi, Magnitogorsk)||2008–2013|
|Assists||209||Alexander Radulov (Ufa)||2008–2013|
|Games played||269|| Anton Glinkin (Chelyabinsk)
Denis Sokolov (Nizhnekamsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, N. Novgorod)
|Plus/minus||+110||Alexander Radulov (Ufa)||2008–2013|
|Penalty minutes||798||Darcy Verot (Chekhov, CSKA)||2008–2012|
|Wins (goaltender)||101||Michael Garnett (HC MVD, Dynamo M, Chelyabinsk)||2008–2013|
|Shutouts||32||Vasily Koshechkin (Togliatti, Magnitogorsk, Cherepovets)||2008–2013|
|Points||61||Aleksey Morozov (Kazan)||2008–2013|
|Goals||28||Aleksey Morozov (Kazan)||2008–2013|
|Assists||41||Alexander Radulov (Ufa, CSKA)||2008–2013|
|Games played||84||Ilya Gorokhov (Yaroslavl, Ufa, Atlant, Dynamo Msc)||2008–2013|
|Plus/minus||+37||Ilya Gorokhov (Yaroslavl, Ufa, Atlant, Dynamo Msc)||2008–2013|
|Penalty minutes||182||Fedor Fedorov (Nizhnekamsk, Magnitogorsk, Atlant, SKA)||2008–2013|
|Wins (goaltender)||41||Alexander Eremenko (Ufa, Dynamo Msc)||2008–2013|
|Shutouts||8|| Georgi Gelashvili (Yaroslavl, Magnitogorsk)
Alexander Eremenko (Ufa, Dynamo Msc)
All-time team records
Since its foundation in 2008, 30 different clubs have played in the KHL, and 25 of them have at least once qualified for the playoffs. Of the current 26 teams, only three have not yet played in the playoffs. The table gives the final regular-season ranks for all teams, with the playoff performance encoded in colors.
[b]: did not participate in the 2011-12 season due to the deadly air disaster on September 7, 2011 that killed the entire team
|Season||Total Attendance||Average Attendance|
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 (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).
The KHL presents annual awards to its most successful players. In 2013, a total of 23 trophies in various categories were awarded. Among the winners were Sergei Mozyakin (regular season MVP), Oleg Znarok (coach of the year for the second time in a row) and Valeri Nichushkin (rookie of the year).
The KHL also awards the Lokomotiv Cup annually to the winner of the first game between the Gagarin Cup winner and the runner-up of the previous season. The Cup, originally known as the Opening Cup, was renamed in the wake of the plane crash that killed 36 Lokomotiv players and staff in 2011.
|Season||Lokomotiv Cup Winner||Gold Stick Award (MVP)|
|2008–09||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||Danis Zaripov|
|2009–10||Ak Bars Kazan||Alexander Radulov|
|2010–11||Dynamo Moscow||Alexander Radulov|
|2011–12||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||Alexander Radulov|
|2012–13||Dynamo Moscow||Sergei Mozyakin|
The Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game is an exhibition game held annually in January or February. Two competing teams consist of the best league's players, which are voted on by fans.
- Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game
- Russian Major League
- Minor Hockey League
- Potential Kontinental Hockey League expansion
- Ice Hockey Federation of Russia
- Russian Elite Hockey Scoring Champion
- Russian Elite Hockey Goal Scoring Champion
- List of current KHL team rosters
- 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster
- "Новый игровой ролик КХЛ "Пробка"" (in Russian). khl.ru. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Crossing the Atlantic". khl.ru. 2010-04-20.
- "Kontinental Hockey League And TV Channel Sport Ratified An Agreement On KHL Championship Games Broadcast In 2009/2010 Season". en.khl.ru. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- "Kontinental Hockey League Signed An Agreement With Viasat". khl.ru. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "Jágr a KHL budou v televizi. Práva koupil Nova sport". Týden.cz. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "World of difference for KHL?". iihf.com. 2012-05-07.
- "About the KHL". khl.ru.
- "KHL Championship – Russian Ice Hockey Championship 2012/2013. Stage 2 Guidelines". khl.ru. 2012-06-27.
- "Cup of Hope". khl.ru. 22 January 2013.
- "Lev from Slovakia to Prague". IIHF.com. 2012-03-30.
- "Medveščak to join the league from 2013-14 season". khl.ru. 2013-04-29.
- "Door opens for NHL men". khl.ru. 2012-09-17.
- "Навстречу Федерации, во имя Сочи". khl.ru. 2012-04-11.
- Emery signs one-year deal with Russian team - tsn.ca
- Radulov on His Return to Russia - NHL FanHouse
- Predator inks debatable deal - iihf.com
- "NHL signs agreement with KHL". ESPN.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
- "Kontinental Hockey League Players' Trade Union" (in Russian). Kontinental Hockey League. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- "KHL Totals by Nationality – 2012-13 Stats". quanthockey.com.
- "QuantHockey FAQ: How is player nationality determined?". quanthockey.com.
- "Kontinental Hockey League Records".
- Attendance figures in European hockey leagues 2009-2010
- Attendance in Europe and health of the fan culture 10/11
- Regular-Season average attendance Europe & Asia 2011-2012
- Regular-Season average league attendance Europe & Asia 2012-2013
- "Ufa’s first trophy". khl.ru. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- "Новые трофеи Лиги". khl.ru. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- "High Five. Season closing ceremony". KHL.ru. 2013-05-22.
- (Russian) www.khl.ru - Official homepage.
- (English) en.khl.ru - Official homepage.
- Official KHL Store
- (English) KHL All Stars Game
- (English) KHL vs NHL exhibition games official homepage
- (English) KHL news and stats from Eurohockey
- (Russian) Kontinental Hockey League Players' Trade Union
- (Russian) Official KHL page on Facebook
- (English) Official KHL page on Facebook, English version