Saturday, December 20, 2014

Russian Ruble Crisis Threatens KHL Teams

khl-collapse-rumors-2015

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) used to be a strong rival to the NHL. The league was rich from oil revenues and planned to expand as far as Britain. The big money attracted Russian players such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov, who walked out on lucrative NHL deals to return home.

The Russian currency, the ruble, slid against the US dollar for most of the year because of low oil prices and economic sanctions against Russia. This week, the ruble dropped dramatically, putting some teams on the verge of bankruptcy. Players are worried about their future and some players have started to rebel.

Revealing he was not paid for three months by team Yugra Khanty-Mansiisk, forward Ilari Melart told the Finnish media that he was not playing "in Siberia for charity." Another Finn, goaltender Mikko Koskinen, was accused by Russian media earlier this month of having refused to play for team Sibir Novosibirsk, because his ruble salary dropped. Koskinen denied the report, and was traded to SKA St. Petersburg two days later.

Former Canucks goaltender, Curtis Sanford, sums up the ruble crisis: "It's just really happened all of a sudden. These are some things that you don't expect when you sign a contract. Right now, you just have to ride the rolls of how it's going and hopefully it stabilizes and gets better."

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