KHL expansion – Neil Black and the UK?
A few weeks ago, during the KHL All-Star weekend, President of the KHL – Dmitry Chernyshenko – spoke up and revealed that there are applications on his desk for new KHL teams across the Europe and Asia. He highlighted Sweden, Bejing, and the United Kingdom among others.
It went quiet for a little while, until recently when two of the countries mentioned above took off, each on different paths.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association wasn’t too happy finding out about an unknown group working on bringing a KHL team in to their territory, so they made it public, claiming that they would forbid any team under their wing of even considering the idea.
The KHL carelessly ignored the fact, and stated that the expansion process would carry on. It took a few days for the SIHA to send an official letter to the KHL’s HQ, requesting the league stop the expansion process immediately, to which the KHL is yet to respond. One thing we know for sure – for the next few years, the KHL and Sweden will not be working together.
Meanwhile, much better news for those in the United Kingdom hoping that there’s a way that they can get a team that plays in what has been called the second best league in the world. It’s not happening now, but relatively soon. Neil Black, the owner of EIHL’s Braehead Clan and Nottingham Panthers, is the one who has submitted an application to expand the league to UK, which is a really interesting scenario for them.
It was no secret that KHL have been keeping their eye on London for atleast a year now. It has been confirmed that IF the league says yes to Mr. Black, it will happen no sooner than in 2018, and a source has stated that Black’s intention is to build an Arena which ‘most likely’ should be built by the same year.
It’s a work in progress, and it will be that way for a while, but there certainly is much to be excited about. Neil Black has also expressed interest in playing games against teams from the KHL’s Bobrov Division (likely the Division that that the London team would become part of). There are no further details as to when that could happen, but it’s obviously a straw that both sides would like to hold on to.