FanDuel - WFBC

December 15, 2007

NHL Faces Competition from Russian Tycoon's New European League: For years, the NHL has poached stars under contract with teams in Europe and Russia, scuttling existing agreements and angering owners. This may be coming back to haunt them, now that Russian energy tycoon Alex Medvedev is working with former NHL player Igor Larionov and former player's union chief Bob Goodenow to begin a league in Europe that will compete for players with the NHL. Here's a line from the Toronto Star that should chill NHL owners: "It's unclear whether the league -- which Medvedev said could formally be announced as soon as today -- would honour NHL contracts."

posted by rcade to hockey at 11:39 AM - 14 comments

Great. This is the first step towards my evil plan, announced ages ago here on spofi, for the NHL to contract to 16 teams and merge with a 16 team Euro league to form the first global sports league.

posted by tieguy at 11:53 AM on December 15

Oh, but he hired Bob Goodenow. So he's not actually going to 'succeed'.

posted by tieguy at 11:57 AM on December 15

If you look at some of the classic examples of rival start-up leagues AL / NL, NFL / AFL, NFL / USFL the more organized and well-funded (and historically older) league usually wins. In this case though the NHL has been on thin ice (sorry couldn't help myself) for years and is ripe for the picking. I would love to see a Euro / N.A. elite league of say 16 teams with the rest of the teams in sort of a relegation league a la European soccer. Its definately a story to watch.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 06:11 PM on December 15

For the record, that wasn't my plan, it was grum's.

posted by tieguy at 07:28 PM on December 15

If you look at some of the classic examples of rival start-up leagues AL / NL, NFL / AFL, NFL / USFL the more organized and well-funded (and historically older) league usually wins. Yes but in those examples, the leagues were competing in the same markets/countries, etc. In this case, they are in completely different markets and in completely different countries, not to mention being on two completely different continents as well. The only competition would be for signing players.

posted by dave2007 at 08:52 PM on December 15

this is really interesting development. in a way, i hope the european league succeeds... cause an owners revolt against bettman and transform hockey into a world game like soccer with competing premier leagues that compete for the world's premier talent, with a super series at the end of their seasons.

posted by ChrisF at 03:02 AM on December 16

"...an owner's revolt against bettman..." Not in our lifetime.

posted by newbie1412 at 11:46 AM on December 16

I love it. Almost. My first thought was similiar to ChrisF in that it would be neat to see a "super series" at the end of each league's season. Then I thought, could the NHL survive with half the talent. I would hate to see less fans in some cities than there already are. I don't want to see teams fold or move. Why do I feel this way? Because I am selfish, that's why. So, I hate it. Almost.

posted by BoKnows at 04:03 PM on December 16

It will take some international players out of the NHL but I am not sure if I am the NHL I am all that worried. Despite Bettman's ideas that that he can take the game global (why take the game to London of all places), it is a North American league.

posted by jc at 06:01 PM on December 16

I was amazed when I took my first trip to London recently and I noticed the free newspapers provided by my hotel mentioned the scores of NHL games on the front page of the Sports section. I couldn't help but wonder if anyone in London really cared if the Ducks beat the Sharks, since I as an American couldn't care less. :)

posted by mathowie at 12:07 PM on December 17

In my insomniac hours, I often find myself watching the Sky Sports News on Fox Soccer Channel, and they give more airtime to the NHL than ESPN ever does. Could this work if done correctly and had enough money and well-placed promotion? Sure. But as relatively weak as the NHL is right now, it's not weak enough to let this happen. I'd love to see ChrisF's idea come true, and I suspect it will happen in the next 20 years or so, but I'm not holding my breath about this just yet.

posted by chicobangs at 03:56 PM on December 17

I find it funny that despite living in the hockey mad city I do, I can find 3 NBA games on every night and maybe 1 hockey game. I know why, but it's still ridiculous. It's fucking Canada for chrissakes. This league wins when a Canadian signs on to one of the teams... One in his particular prime. Strickly for money. But I remember when Rocket Ismail was coaxed to the CFL by virtue of a guaranteed 4 million and that was supposed to be a big deal. Upon reflection - not so much.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:36 PM on December 17

The British press will cover North American and other non-British sports because they are, you know, sports journalists, and not just paid hacks. Sure they are also paid hacks but they are expected to actually cover the world of sports, and not just cover the sports that they care about. Someday maybe the American sports media will be more like that, but I'm not holding my breathe.

posted by dave2007 at 04:51 AM on December 18

Great. This is the first step towards my evil plan, announced ages ago here on spofi, for the NHL to contract to 16 teams and merge with a 16 team Euro league to form the first global sports league. Now that's a hell of a good evil plan!!! Can't wait!

posted by BoriQa at 10:19 AM on January 13

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