KHL team in Switzerland?

KHL team in Switzerland?

23 Dec 2011 | Dennis Mende

According to the KHL, the addition of a Swiss team is planned for the 2014-15 season.

 
 
 
 
It all started with a short news report on the official KHL website on Thursday where the league informs about a declaration of intent with an investor group to add a Swiss team called "Helvetics" to the league. The report claims that the investors plan to have a team in place ready to play in the league for the 2014-15 season, giving them time to create the necessary infrastructure. The deadline for presenting all necessary documents and finances is 30 April 2014.

As the KHL news article leaves a lot of room for speculation by giving no details about who the investors are, where the team should play, how the budget should be financed or what the legal situation is, the Aargauer Zeitung speculates that businessman Markus Bösiger is behind the secret negotiations. Bösiger was the owner of the Hutwill Falcons, a Swiss club that was dissolved last summer after winning the third category of Swiss ice hockey but was then not allowed to play in the NLB due to formal mistakes. According to the Swiss newspaper, there are plans to build an arena worth 70 million Swiss francs in Huttwil. 

If the Helvetics actually begin playing in 2014 - the year of the Winter Olympics in Sochi - the KHL could consist of up to 26 teams, after the return of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl next season and the possible addition of Italian club Milano Rossoblu. The first step into a country that didn't belong to the former Soviet Union was made last summer with the entry of HC Lev Poprad from Slovakia. But finances or infrastructure might not become the main issues of a Swiss KHL team, as there is still the Swiss Ice Hockey Association, who surely is not going to welcome competition for the strong National League. One advantage for the project could be that a completely new team is to be founded, as happened in the case of HC Lev from Slovakia, where the federation gave its okay after long negotiations. Until now, further expansion into Western Europe has failed because leagues and associations always had to deal with the possible departure of one of their strongest teams and therefore a negative influence on the domestic leagues. If this project works out, we could also see new KHL teams in other big European hockey nations - one for each country. 
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