KHL in UK – Q&A.
Following my first reports about the possibility of KHL expansion in to the United Kingdom, there was a lot of excitement among hockey fans.
But it seemed many had no idea what was really going to happen, how it would happen and when it might happen – and if anything was going to happen at all!
So I decided to reach out to the audience and answer your questions about a possible KHL expansion in to the UK.
1. Would domestic players be used? Or would British-Canadian dual nationality imports be used as ‘domestic players’?
That’s a really hard question to answer. It really depends on the capability of home grown players. That’s where the teams front office will have to sit down and decide.
It really doesn’t make any difference which option is selected, because non-Russian KHL teams tend to use the core of their National team, and boost the line-up with imports. I can’t see why a UK franchise wouldn’t do the same.
2. How would the KHL Draft work for a UK team? If you’re selecting Russians, do they still count as imports?
To answer the first part of the question, it doesn’t work. Not only for a potential UK team, but for everyone outside of Russia.
The KHL ‘Talent Fare’ is the most pathetic thing about the league. No team in the KHL’s history has made picks that make any actual sense. Russian teams draft Russian talent, but only a very tiny percentage of them actually develop to the level where they can play in the KHL.
European teams usually draft ‘someone’, just to do it.
Teams are known to even draft players that won’t ever consider playing in the league. A great example is Medvescak Zagreb – they drafted Connor McDavid, in the second or third round a few years ago.
The draft is something the league needs to work on ASAP, otherwise it’s just an event where teams gather together and call random names just because they have to.
But to answer the second part of the question – every player that’s not from the UK will count as an import. But they’re an European team, which means they can hold/sign/register and play as many ‘foreign’ players they want to.
3. In your opinion would a KHL team help the development of the British game, players, officials and infrastructure?
I’m swinging between yes and no on all of those, so let me set things straight.
I don’t think the KHL can have that big of an impact on any of their participating countries. Yes, it brings together the core of the national team’s players, but where does the game benefit across the whole country?
As for players and officials – yes it does help, but only a really small percentage unless the KHL, or specifically the ownership of the new UK franchise, decides to take a few more steps and get an actual system in place, a farm, a junior team and a big team within the other British leagues. That’s when players will develop and start improving.
Officiating quality really depends on international experience.
Infrastructure wise, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. A new hockey rink made for specifically for a KHL team is a huge step. As far as I know Neil Black (The person who is said to have submitted the application) is willing to improve logistics and infrastructure so that answers the question.
4. Why on earth would a UK team want to join the KHL? Would it have an adverse affect on EIHL?
I can’t really answer that. I guess someone has money and is willing to spend it. The EIHL wouldn’t be affected in anyway unless, let’s say, Nottingham Panthers are moved up to the KHL and the Braehead clan turned into a farm club. Short and easy.
5. Would a KHL team in the UK result in an MHL team in the UK?
A KHL team usually results in an MHL team. It comes as part of a package and is offered by the league to all applicants.
Seeing how junior hockey here in UK is pretty much basement level, I would have to assume that happens if there’s interest. One step at time but again, that depends on ownership and the UK hockey association, if they vote, and say ‘yes’, I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen.