Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 28, 2021

The upcoming New York Times Play Magazine feature on the resurgence of Russian big-league sports is, predictably, heavy on the hockey. That would be Kontinental Hockey League, the state-sponsored and petro-fueled pucks concern that’s gunning for NHL-like greatness.

And beyond, in fact. That’s according to Hall of Famer Slava Fetisov, who, as newly-installed chairman of the KHL, has some wild ideas for where icing and offsides can be exported:

“I warned Gary Bettman five years ago,” [Fetisov] tells me, referring to the N.H.L. commissioner. “You’ve got your business model, but if you take the best players out of Europe and Russia for cheap — you’ll kill the game, and your own market.” North America, Fetisov argues, is “a small hockey market.” He continues: “For years I’ve tried to tell the Americans to think big. Look beyond Russia and Europe. What about Asia? China? Even in India they play field hockey. Why can’t the N.H.L. see it? They’re afraid. They want to preserve their market. Now it’s too late. We’re gonna take our market share. And you’ll see, it’ll be good for the game.”

I’m sure Canadians are howling over being referred to as “a small hockey market” — and not even separately, but as part of the greater North American whole.

I can’t wait to see the forthcoming rink action out of New Delhi and Mumbai.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/28/2008 05:34:48 PM
Category: Hockey
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