The business practices of Russia’s largest professional hockey league, the KHL, have long been the butt of jokes from North American hockey fans. Former NHLers have shared anecdotes about their time in the league that shed light on seemingly shady and underhanded dealings, including getting short changed, getting paid in bizarre foreign currencies and dealing with contract terminations at random.
It should come as no surprise then, given the lack of standards and practices, that the league is experiencing extreme financial hardships and seriously considering halting operations for 5 of its 29 franchises.
"Optimizing the number (of clubs) will help us to deal with the issue of cost-cutting related to player earnings," KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Tuesday. At this point the news has not been made official and the plans for which teams would cease to exist have not been released. However, in a strange about-face Chernyshenko also mentioned the possibility of the league expanding into Japan, China, South Korea, and Western Europe despite facing such grievous financial hardship.