KHL Will Not Play in Brooklyn in January

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) of Russia had second thoughts to playing on U.S. soil.

With the current NHL / NHLPA lockout, the KHL had planned to play two games in Brooklyn, New York.  On both January 19th and 20th, the games would have featured Alex Ovechkin of Dynamo Moscow against Ilya Kovalchuk of SKA St. Petersburg.

The KHL announced the change was “in deference to the wishes of many thousands of Russian hockey fans … and the lack of certainty as to the timing of the duration of the lockout in the National Hockey League.”

Perhaps the KHL is expecting the lockout to end before the once scheduled games.

“The teams heard from their fans a strong desire to keep these two, late-season premier matchups in Russia and appealed to the league to do so,” U.S.-based KHL spokesman Shawn McBride said. “After much discussion, the decision was made to satisfy the interests of the fans of the respective clubs.

“The KHL is going to continue working with Barclays Center to determine potential opportunities in the future.”

Brooklyn was decided for it’s new arena as well as the large Russian population in the area.

The KHL for now, will stay in Russian. Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov offers his thoughts.

I don’t see how this move could be viewed as good from any angle.

They had the opportunity to capitalize on the interest that has been generated about the KHL in the last few months. They had a chance to showcase their product beyond the sporadic TV highlights and YouTube clips. But they chose not to.  A very shortsighted move that will move the KHL back to obscurity once the NHL lockout is over.

When will they get another chance like that? In another 8 years? Or ever?

This was a power struggle move with the new ownership of Dynamo and SKA respectively. They viewed things differently than the KHL itself.

The League couldn’t convince the teams, who had the change of heart.

The KHL perhaps will regret this in the future. As Chesnokov points out, the KHL may never get another chance like this again. Once a NHL collective bargaining agreement comes into place, a duration for at least another five or six years, the KHL will again go to the back-burner. A poor marketing decision that will invariably hurt the KHL while allowing the NHL and NHLPA to not worry about any competition while they continue their tirades with a lack of solutions.

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