The proposed new calendar for the 2015-16 season – the VIII Kontinental Hockey League Championship – has been officially approved by the managing bodies of the League, the Russian Hockey Federation, the Ministry of Sport and the national team. The modifications to the Championship schedule were implemented to give the greatest possible assistance to both club and country.
The season will begin and end earlier than previous campaigns, in order to give Team Russia more time to train and prepare for the 2016 World Championships, of which Russia is the host nation. As a result, the start date is the 24th of August, 2015, and the latest possible closing date (namely, in the event of the Gagarin Cup final series stretching to seven games) is the 19th of April, 2016.
Another factor taken into consideration when devising the 2015-16 season schedule was the calendar of events held under the auspices of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Thus there will be breaks in the season before and during national teams’ games in IIHF tournaments. These pauses in the season will also enable the KHL clubs to conduct additional training sessions or to grant their players rest and recovery time, and will eliminate the danger of clubs in the KHL Championship fielding weakened teams owing to the enforced absence of leading players called up for international duty.
Changes have also been made to the play-off stage of the Championship. All the games in every series in the Gagarin Cup will be played every other day, unlike in previous years when, for example, a series begins with two games in two days. This is another positive alteration to the schedule, as it reduces the risk of injury to the players, allows them to recuperate from the previous day’s exertions, and therefore enables the competing teams to produce a higher level of performance.