The first major international action of the season is coming up – and the KHL will have 56 players involved in the Karjala Cup in Finland. The countdown to the next round of KHL World Games in Switzerland is also underway, and the first phase of selections for the Week of Hockey Stars still has 10 days to run. Looking further ahead, Novosibirsk is preparing to host the 2023 World Juniors in a brand new arena.
Loko’s young goalie Ilya Konovalov has been one of the revelations of the season so far – and the 20-year-old got his latest accolade with his first ever call-up to Russia’s senior squad for the upcoming Karjala Cup tournament in Finland. The young goalie has impressed for Dmitry Kvartalnov’s Lokomotiv team this season, sharing goaltending duties with Alexander Salak and picking up eight wins and three shut-outs for his troubles.
The head coaches of the four nations contesting the Karjala Cup at the weekend have selected a combined total of 56 KHLers to represent their countries. As usual, Russia leads the way with Ilya Vorobyov drawing exclusively on our league in a roster that emphasizes youth and rests many of last season’s Olympic champions. World Champion Sweden has seven KHLers, including summer arrivals Philip Holm, Viktor Loov and Dennis Rasmussen. The host nation, now under the guidance of former Jokerit head coach Jukka Jalonen, has 12 KHLers with Neftekhimik’s troika of Mikael Ruohomaa, Joonas Nattinen and Juuso Puustinen looking to fire the offense. The Czechs have 10 KHLers in their roster, including goalie Jakub Kovar, whose performances have helped put Avtomobilist on top of the table.
Wojtek Wolski, an Olympic bronze medallist with Canada last season, left Metallurg with surprising haste when his club decided to recruit a new center and plumped for Michal Bulir. Magnitogorsk’s loss looks like China’s gain: Wolski promptly signed up for another stint at Kunlun Red Star and quickly settled in. Saturday’s game at Vityaz showed exactly why the forward was so popular during his previous spell with Red Star: a perceptive assist for Brandon Yip’s opener and a devastating one-timer for the game-winner produced his first points for his new(ish) club.
The current season isn’t going as well as fans in Novosibirsk might have hoped, but there’s plenty to look forward to in this hockey-crazy Siberian city. In 2023, the IIHF World Junior Championships will take place here – and the world’s best young players will get to play in a brand-new, state-of-the-art arena. The official start of the construction work on land next to the River Ob was marked by the unveiling of a giant puck on the site of the eventual venue. Visiting dignitaries, including IIHF President Rene Fasel, Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak and various local and national political figures, all signed the commemorative puck. Work is due to begin in earnest on the site in the spring and the arena will eventually replace the current ‘Sibir’ arena, which dates back to 1962.
Phase one of the selection process for this season’s Week of Hockey Stars is underway – and KHL fans can select their All-Star first lines for the big event in January. Voting opened at www.allstarweek.com on November 1 and continues until November 14. The KHL All-Star Game and Skill Show forms the culmination of this season’s Week of Hockey Stars, and will take place in Kazan on January 19-20.
Before the All-Star action, the next round of KHL World Games action takes us to Switzerland at the end of the month. Zurich’s Hallenstadion is the venue for two Dinamo Riga home games. On Nov. 26, the Latvians face SKA St. Petersburg, then two days later CSKA Moscow provide the opposition. Media accreditation is open until Nov. 20: journalists should apply to firstname.lastname@example.org giving their full names, the name and type of their media organization, the type of accreditation needed (writer, photographer or broadcast) and a contact email.