Russia’s KHL has determined not to stop the 2016-17 KHL season to make it easier for players to participate in the World Cup of Hockey, reports Aivis Kalnins of One Puck Short.
The decision not to put their regular season hiatus isn’t entirely surprising. With the KHL season beginning in August, their 2016-17 season will overlap with the World Cup of Hockey, which is scheduled to kick off in Toronto on Sept. 17. The tournament runs through Oct. 1. The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be a NHL-lead event with fewer international players than the IIHF-led Olympics, so it would mean shutting down regular season play for two full weeks so around 10 players can go play in a tournament on the other side of the world.
Helping make that decision, no doubt, is the small number of KHL players expected to be named to national rosters. The first roster announcement for Team Russia included no KHL players at all. With 16 of the team’s 23 players already locked in place, there simply aren’t many roster spot available to KHL players any longer.
Though there are KHLers who could find their way onto other national teams, particularly Team Europe, Team Finland and Team Czech Republic.
Currently, the only KHLers on any roster are Michal Kempny and Vladimir Sobotka of Avangard Omsk, who will both suit up for the Czech team.
The number of KHLers looks like it will be small. For the KHL to pause the season would be an extreme measure, stopping hundreds of players from playing games for just a handful to head to the World Cup of Hockey, an event hosted by a rival league.
The big question is how this will impact the participation of the few KHL players who have been announced to national teams.
Team Canada Roster Announcement
Team Czech Republic World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Europe World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Finland World Cup Roster Announcement
Team North America World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Russia World Cup Roster Announcement
Team Sweden World Cup Roster Announcement
Team USA World Cup Roster Announcement