Vladimir Putin: I suggested the idea of establishing the KHL
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has revealed why he supports the European expansion of the Kontinental Hockey League.
«I have already said that it had been me who thought up the KHL. My colleagues have done a very good job organizing this league, for which I am very grateful to them. It seemed to me then, when I suggested to organize the KHL, – and still seems now, when it is working – that it may create a new atmosphere in world hockey.»
«If the NHL takes away all the best players like a vacuum cleaner, hockey will only be exciting there, in the NHL. In other countries the interest to hockey will vanish. Of course, Slovak fans like to watch their players in the NHL. But we want to have some strong teams in Russia too – as well as in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Germany... Only if it happens, there will be a chance that world hockey will grow in general.»
«I believe it is a good thing to create one more place in the world, where it would be possible to build good teams, to hold competitions between clubs from different leagues, to arrange some new formats of competitions. I hope Mr. Fasel and his colleagues will think something up.»
«Therefore, I will welcome the expansion of the KHL with clubs from Slovakia and other countries. It’s just a matter of money – unfortunately, we can’t include teams without proper funding into the KHL. The teams should have a certain level, a high level, so that they would be able to pay proper salaries to their players and develop the club. I believe it would be interesting for everybody.»
«I have suggested the idea of this project, but I don’t want it to be mine or exclusively Russian. I would like it to be our joint project to establish a good, competitive continental league in Europe capable to match the NHL. I will repeat once more: I’m sure it will only benefit world hockey,» stated Putin as quoted by the official website of the KHL.