- © RIA Novosti. Vitaly Ankov
© RIA Novosti. Vitaly Ankov
MOSCOW, December 16 (R-Sport) - Sweden is a priority target for the KHL’s future expansion, league president Alexander Medvedev told R-Sport on Monday.
The Russia-based KHL already encompasses 28 teams in eight countries, but Medvedev has a dream of growing it across Europe, with next season’s arrival of Finnish team Jokerit a key step in that process. Norway’s Valerenga and Sweden’s Malmo are among the teams tipped to join.
“Sweden’s more of a hockey country than Norway, and, all things being equal, obviously [a place] would be given to Sweden,” said Medvedev.
The KHL has set a short-term target of adding four more teams , one of them Jokerit, and two Russian clubs are heavily linked with places.
Medvedev suggested only one place was left, adding: “it’s too early to say that it’s precisely Malmo that’s a candidate for the last place.”
The KHL's relentless expansion is a factor in its exclusion from the Europe-wide Champions Hockey League tournament launched earlier this month, partly caused by Finnish dissatisfaction with Jokerit's imminent departure from the Finnish league for the KHL.