Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
exclusive for khl.ru
This week brought the latest meeting between the KHL’s directors and representatives of the clubs.

The league is getting younger

Before the second international break, 70% of regular season games were completed and only one had to be cancelled. A total of 823 players took part, including 148 who had not previously played in the league and 80 who are under 20. On average, we saw 5.17 goals per game (the second highest in the last seven years) and the average age of our players continues to drop to 27.3 years.

This is the second season in which the KHL has worked with restrictions relating to the COVID pandemic. In 2020/21, 50 games took place without spectators; so far this season, just 11 were behind closed doors.

Broadcasting games

For the first time, all KHL games this season are available to viewers in the USA and Canada. ESPN is screening 50 regular season games, plus all of the playoffs, across the USA and the remaining games are available on Portable. TV. In addition, Portable. TV is making all games available to audiences in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to the start of this season the KHL’s own channels were rebranded: now KHL and KHL Prime are both broadcast in HD.

Market research

As part of the KHL’s development strategy, the league regularly conducts research into the KHL’s audience and explores the level of brand awareness. Based on surveys carried out this season, we have a portrait of the average KHL fan and the key findings, broken down by city, were shared with the clubs. According to our research, the average age of KHL fans is just over 35.

The KHL Board of Directors decided to amend the development strategy and instructed clubs to organize annual projects to attract a younger audience of children and teenagers. We studied ways of working with a new generation of fans and, as a result, a new project format is underway to draw attention of under-18s to the KHL and our clubs. We also decided to adapt some of our flagship projects to reflect the interests of our audience. The first of these new projects will be seen during the Fonbet 2022 All-Star Week in Chelyabinsk, and the KHL Mascotmania contest.

Sporting Telematics

Most KHL clubs are using our Sporting Telematics system. In addition, Avangard has expanded its use of the scheme and now gathers the same data for games involving its academy. Collecting data for ‘time on attack’ and ‘time on ice’ has been automated, reducing the size of the stat teams.

The system is continually being improved, and new indicators are often added. After studying more than 400,000 shots based on 100 different factors, we now have the xG indicator — expected goals, assessing the likelihood of a team scoring based on the distance and angle to the net, the speed and positions of other players, and the goalie’s sightlines and movement.

Officiating

At the end of 2020-2021, the KHL’s refereeing department dismissed six linesmen for unsatisfactory performance. In the current campaign, 72 officials (including four newcomers) have working in the league and one linesman has returned to the KHL.

2021/2022

2020-2021

2019-2020

2018-2019

2017-2018

2016-2017

Referees:

38

36

37

36

37

39

Linesmen:

34

39

36

40

40

43

Total:

72

75

73

76

77

82

Referees are on annual contracts with a fixed salary. Trainee officials are paid by the game. At the end of the regular season, officials can earn a performance-related bonus of up to 30% of their contract. This season brings stricter penalties for officials and a change to the salary package — now the basic salary is worth 70% of the contract, instead of 80%.

Coronavirus and anti-doping

The doping control test program began on Oct. 1, 2021. Since then, 85 players have been tested and no positive results have been recorded.

About 85% of club employees have been vaccinated against COVID 19. Thanks to the high level of vaccination, the level of infections is much better this season. In particular, there have been no cases where individuals suffered complications; we have only seen positive PCR tests. As at Dec. 14, there have been 168 confirmed cases of coronavirus (players and team staff from the KHL, JHL and Women’s Hockey League, plus officials) since the start of the season. That’s nine times less than the equivalent period last season. At present (Dec. 14, 2021), only four KHL players have positive PCR tests.

Hard salary cap

In 2021-2022 all KHL clubs are complying with the hard salary cap and are using more u21 players, whose salaries do not count under the cap. Numbers vary from one to 14 people, and the total value of cap-exempt contracts reached almost 142 million rubles ($1.9 million). However, four clubs are in danger of violating the 315 million-ruble ($4.2 million) salary floor for players.

Late payments

The situation with paying salaries has improved compared with the equivalent period last season. There are fewer delays in paying wages to players, and the number of days overdue has halved.

Amur, Barys, Spartak and Sochi were able to solve their problems and stopped paying salaries late. Dynamo Moscow has a debt for individual bonuses which carries over from 2020-2021 which was not paid off within the timetable required by the KHL’s regulations. The club has a written agreement with the players about payment in instalments, the situation is tightly monitored by the KHL and the club is making repayments ahead of schedule.

Starting this season, there are tougher penalties for late payment of player salaries. Depending on the extent of the problem, these could include restrictions on acquiring and trading players, and sporting or corporate disqualifications.

Arena inspections

Prior to the start of the season, the league carried out its annual inspection of all arenas used in the KHL, JLH and Women’s Hockey League to ensure they complied with our technical requirements. All issues raised at the time were resolved before the start of the championship and the infrastructure at all clubs and arenas complied with the regulations. Over the course of the season, further inspections took place to ensure that these standards are being maintained.

There was a further check of the lighting standards at all arenas in the league. As a result, the KHL ordered improvements to the lighting in three venues. After the season began, further checks were carried out at two KHL clubs with the help of the TV rights department. All lighting systems at arenas used by KHL clubs are now in line with the league’s regulations.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
exclusive for khl.ru
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