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The RIHF's proposals concerning the format of the KHL

18.06.2022
One of the most important tasks of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) is to develop and promote ice hockey across Russia. In connection with this, and taking into account the recommendations of the Coaching Council from 16 May 2022, the RIHF has developed proposals concerning the next Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) season and sent them to the organisation.

Yesterday, there was information in the media concerning the RIHF's proposal. At the same time, the idea of two different leagues for the "strong" and the weak" was emphasised. This rumour does not hold any truth. The proposal submitted by the RIHF is aimed at increasing the level of the KHL and strengthening competition. Furthermore, this proposal allows for all teams to compete for the KHL Gagarin Cup.

According to the RIHF's proposal, the clubs will be separated into two conferences. The 12 teams which finished in the top 12 places of the 2021/2022 KHL campaign will be included in the first conference. These 12 teams are CSKA Moscow, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Traktor Chelyabinsk, SKA Saint Petersburg, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Dynamo Moscow, Avangard Omsk, Spartak Moscow, Ak Bars Kazan, Severstal Cherepovets, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Dinamo Minsk. The second conference will consist of Sibir Novosibirsk, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, Barys Nur-Sultan, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, Amur Khabarovsk, Vityaz Podolsk, Sochi, Admiral Vladivostok and Kunlun Red Star Beijing. The suggested names for the conferences are the Yurzinov Conference and the Yakushev Conference.

In total, teams will play in 70 matches in the regular season. Each team of the first conference will play 44 games (22 at home and 22 away), while every club in the second conference will play 36 matches (18 at home and 18 away). It's important to note that the conferences will not be isolated from each other, as all teams from each conference will play against each other once at home and once on the road.

Moreover, teams of the first and second conferences will play additional matches in their own conferences in accordance with the established procedure and the KHL's decisions.

Teams from the two conferences will be in line to qualify for the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

There are two options for the staging of the KHL with this proposed format:

- Teams from 1st to 10th place of the first conference in the regular season are granted automatic qualification to the playoffs, whereas teams from 1st to 4th place of the second conference also qualify for the playoff phase of the KHL campaign. The team in 11th place of the first conference will play against the team in 5th place of the second conference in a knockout match for a berth in the playoffs. A place in the playoffs will also be granted to the winner of a knockout game between the team in 12th place of the first conference and the team in 6th place of the second;

- Teams from 1st to 8th place of the first conference and the teams from 1st to 4th spot of the second conference will automatically qualify for the playoffs. Teams from 9th to 12th place of the first conference will play against clubs from 5th to 8th place of the second conference in knockout games for berths in the playoffs too. Following these particular knockout matches, four more teams will make the playoffs.

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