ZURICH – The International Ice Hockey Federation held a meeting yesterday at the Zurich airport together with representatives of the Top-7 European national member federations and their leagues, plus Belarus.
Invited to the meeting was Alexander Medvedev Deputy CEO of Gazprom, which is one of the driving forces behind the new open Russian hockey league and also one of the investors behind the Champions Hockey League, scheduled to open in October 2008.
Mr. Medvedev made some clarifying statements in light of recent reports about the positioning of the new open Russian hockey league and its reported interest in expanding to Western Europe and participation of clubs from the Swedish, Finnish and German leagues, among others.
“The Russian league has no intention to compete with the Champions Hockey League,” said Mr. Medvedev. “We plan to start the Russian league with 24 clubs, where there will be 21 Russian clubs and three clubs from the neighbouring countries Latvia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The two top clubs from the Russian league will represent Russia in the Champions Hockey League.
“In respect with potential expansion of the League, we will not do it without mutual consent from the IIHF and the relevant national ice hockey federations and their leagues. There will be no unilateral action from us towards any expansion.”
Mr. Medvedev said that the Russian league will comply under IIHF’s transfer regulations.
The participating national federations and leagues addressed all outstanding issues in the draft of the Champions Hockey League regulations and agreed unanimously on the final text. The regulations will be in effect as of the inaugural 2008-2009 season.
Click here for basic information on the Champions Hockey League.