While the Gagarin Cup semifinal battles are at their climax, the KHL bosses have revealed some new regulations that will be in force for the next three years
These rules are unique, not only in ice hockey, but in general in sports in Russia. The regulations were enacted with the Sochi Winter Olympics in mind, aiming to develop youth hockey in the country.
Many new laws have also been brought in to protect the rights of young players. There are several important issues that the new regulations control, such as the status of restricted free agents, which will cut the number of transfers.
Next season, only five foreign players can be on a team roster. However, this limit is set to be scrapped in the near future.
Two referees and two linesmen will enforce the rules, while goal judges will be abolished. The KHL is planning to sign contracts with a few foreign referees, which will probably boost the standard of Russian judges.
A lot of issues are devoted to the teams’ infrastructure development. New arenas must hold no fewer than 9,000 seats, and the quality of broadcasting should become much better.
All these rules are aimed at making ice hockey more popular, and to attract more spectators.
One more problem for the KHL is cooperating with the best hockey league in the world, the NHL.
“We had negotiations with several NHL clubs and met their demands for holding several exhibition matches in Russia. But the financial appetites of the NHL are much higher, and they asked for double as much, and so disrupted these matches,” KHL President Aleksandr Medvedev.
“The progress of the KHL doesn’t depend on exhibition matches with the NHL clubs. They’re interested in money, and I hope they will soon understand that a match between a Stanley Cup winner and a Gagarin Cup winner will surely be an obvious success,” added Vyacheslav Fetisov, chairman of the KHL’s board of directors.
Also with the Sochi Olympics in mind, during the ongoing playoffs the number of drug tests was increased – with no negative results.
Plus, a salary cap will be introduced next season, but more severely enforced from the following season, while expanding the league across Europe has been an ongoing topic since the KHL was formed.
“Lev Poprad from Slovakia will be the only team added next year,” Medvedev noted. “A Belarusian club wanted to join the KHL, but won’t make it next season. However, we’ll be ready to include them the following year. Slovan from Bratislava are also very interested in joining the league, as well as Milan of Italy. Plus, there are negotiations with German clubs.”
Pundits say these are very progressive proposals, and with the KHL still only in its third season, this move is an important step in the league’s development and proof of its stability.