Gennady Timchenko, Chairman of the KHL Board of Directors:
2021 is drawing to a close and for Russian hockey and the KHL it has been exciting and productive. Despite the new realities of a pandemic, we successfully played our 2020-2021 season in full and continued to progress the league’s strategic development in all directions.
It’s impossible not to celebrate the fact that bright new names are emerging in the league – our clubs are putting faith in young players, who are taking on leading roles. They are our future, it’s great that even at such a young age they are proving that they can play at the KHL’s level and become leaders within their clubs. Their example proves that young players can develop in Russia, build successful careers and get results.
In 2022 the Olympic Winter Games takes place in Beijing and Russia’s team will be made up of KHL players. We are the defending Olympic champions and I’m sure that our players will do everything to defend that title. The support of our fans will be very important to our team, only together can we succeed in defeating the best opposition as the biggest tournament for four years.
I’d like to thank all of our clubs and players for their work, the KHL’s partners for their support and open friendship, the fans for your passion for your favorite teams. I hope that the New Year brings you more victories, and that you enjoy good fortune and success in your lives. I wish health and happiness to you and your families. Happy New Year!
Alexei Morozov, KHL president:
Dear Friends and Colleagues!
The passing year was eventful and successful for all of us – we staged the first post-pandemic playoffs and did so at a high level. In every series, the teams played bright, uncompromising hockey and Avangard lifted the Gagarin Cup for the first time in its history. This is a great achievement for the club and shows that in this league, competition is intensifying, and anyone can beat anyone. We also see how clubs are working effectively not just on the ice and the front office, but in their media offerings.
December 2021 saw the return of the KHL World Games when Avangard and Ak Bars played in Dubai. Despite the challenges of staging the event, we saw a high-level game, both in terms of the infrastructure and the hockey action. We showed off our wonderful game to a new audience and we can hope that some of those kids who witnessed hockey for the first time might grow up to become future stars.
Our greatest achievement in the past year was bringing spectators back to the arenas in every city in the KHL. The players greatly missed you when they had to play behind closed doors.
Unfortunately, we have to postpone the Fonbet All-Star Week to 2022-2023. The All-Star teams include many players who are likely to take part in the 2022 Olympics. As the global epidemiological situation deteriorates, the complex logistics of assembling teams of players who arrive from different cities and countries makes it impossible to guarantee the health and safety of players and fans. We wish all of our players every success at the upcoming Olympics and look forward to seeing the best of world hockey in Beijing.
I’d like to wish everyone good health in these challenging times, and hope that 2022 will be a happy and successful year for all of you. Happy New Year!