Six-time NHL All-Star Pavel Bure is chairing a new league that is exactly like the old man’s hockey league your dad played in, except the stories of past hockey glory told in the locker room aren’t going to be total crap. Also, someone will be watching.
The World Legends Hockey League (WLHL) will be comprised of 45+ year old players who represented their country on the international stage. The league may provide fans with the opportunity to see stars like Bure (44), Dominik Hasek (50), Nik Lidstrom (45), Teemu Selanne (45) and Sergei Federov (45) hit the ice again. (Though no players have been announced at this time.)
The league will feature the world’s best 45+ players from Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany. The league has the blessing and support of the IIHF and games will be reffed by IIHF officials, all of whom will be over 45, obviously.
Via the WLHL press release:
The formation of WLHL will be celebrated with an All Star Team Match where one team includes Russian stars and the other team is made up of stars from the participating countries as well as Canada and the United States. The game will be played in Moscow in the first week of October 2015, the date is not set. The game will be played in the newly built VTB Ice Palace Arena, Moscow Legends Park, where also the 2016 World Championship will be played.
Players and referees must be 45 years or older to participate in WLHL.
The requirement is that the players must have played international games for his country in any official tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation, IIHF. Each squad must contain 27 persons, 20 players of whom two shall be goalkeepers and a team management which shall consist of seven people. Injured players may be replaced during the matches. For the referees, the requirement is that they must have been the IIHF licensed judges.
The league will begin preliminary games in November, with matches between Finland and Sweden, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the WLHL’s Edmonton Oilers, Germany playing Russia.
The launch of the league is going to be celebrated with an opening All-Star game that will feature American and Canadian players facing off against a Russian team, though there will be no American or Canadian team in the league. If the league has any success this year, we can hope that there will be U.S. and Canadian teams included for 2016, because Don Cherry is itching to get behind the bench again.
This league has the potential to be a lot of fun.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.