After months of speculation and predictions as to where the Kontinental Hockey League will expand to, league president and CEO Alexander Medvedev has announced the expansion of three news clubs in Sochi, Tolyatti, and Helsinki.
“We can speak about the entry of the Sochi club, Lada and Jokerit as a fact,” Medvedev told R-Sport.
The Bolshoy Ice Dome, a site of the 2014 Winter Olympic hockey tournament, will be the home ice rink for the Dolphin Sochi club. Entering the KHL from a four-year break is Lada Tolyatti. The two-time champions are located in central Russia.
In sight of new and better competition Helsinki Jokerit will leave the SM-liiga and enter the KHL just in time for the 2014-15 season. Jokerit is a five-time champion in the Finnish league since the 1991-92 season.
The addition of a team in Finland would mean the league’s expansion across nine different countries.
Notes: Spartak Moscow may be folding due to financial problems since December 2013 when their main sponsor, Investbank, ran out of business. The 89-year old club had to ask for a loan from the league to get through the remainder of the season. Medvedev has stated that their participation for next season will be known in late April.
The foreigner limit for each team has increased from five to seven in efforts to be more alike the NHL, which has no foreigner limits.