Gennady Timchenko, chairman of the KHL Board of Directors
Dear friends and colleagues,
We’re coming to the end of 2020, a year that has been a testing challenge for all of us. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to complete our 2019-2020 season. However, this enabled us to get everything in place for the start of the new season in September. Today, the KHL is one of the few hockey leagues in the world that has successfully played its current campaign without a break, despite these difficult new circumstances.
None of this would be possible without the scrupulous commitment of every club and every member of staff. In difficult times, we have demonstrated the unity and strength of the hockey family.
The 2020-2021 season sees the implementation of our hard salary cap, something we have worked towards for many years. In the present circumstances, salaries are an even more pointed question: hockey cannot exist in a vacuum, detached from society. The salary cap is working, we’re seeing a steady levelling of the strengths of the teams in our league, clubs are placing more faith in their youngsters and the games themselves are less predictable. I’d like to thank all of our clubs for accepting and following the new rules.
My friends, this year has been tough, but we can look to the future with hope. I’d like to wish you and your families good health, good fortune and a swift return to our hockey arenas – we miss you!
Happy New Year!
Alexei Morozov, KHL President
Very soon, 2020 will be history. This chapter in the history books shows that, no matter what challenges we face, we are together. As a result of the pandemic, the entire world introduced unprecedented safety measures. The KHL, thanks to the combined efforts of our clubs, the governments of the countries in which we play, various state agencies, broadcasters, media and our partners, managed to start our current season as planned.
Unfortunately, the pandemic directly affected our supporters. Every region introduced restrictions and many people are still unable to watch their favorite game live in the arena. Believe me, you are not the only ones who miss experiencing the thrill of the action in front of a big crowd. The players are also finding it tough to perform without their loyal fans.
We are grateful to the Russian government, the ministry of sport and other official agencies who have done everything they can to help us. Together, we worked out a way to deal with visa and border issues, reunite import players with their families and much more.
On the ice, this season is an absorbing spectacle. We introduced our hard salary cap at the start of the campaign and the gap is closing between the teams at the top and the bottom of the KHL. We are seeing many young prospects emerge – never before in the history of the league have so many junior players been given their chance. Several of them are already big players for their teams, proving that it is possible for top-class talent to thrive in Russia. Clubs that pay attention to youth development can be confident that, in future, they can rely on their own squad depth.
We look forward to 2021 with genuine optimism. This year proves that, when we work together, we can achieve a great deal.
Live for hockey! Happy New Year! I wish you all good health, happiness and good fortune!