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MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. A Chinese ice hockey club from Shanghai may in the future be admitted to the Russian Continental Hockey League (KHL), the league President Dmitry Chernyshenko told TASS on Thursday.
According to him, the KHL leadership is already in negotiations with the league’s potential new club.
"The admission of an Asian club to KHL is possible. We are in negotiations with China. There is a potential candidate club that technically meets our requirements - a club from Shanghai," Chernyshenko said.
"Russia has now entered a period of a special relationship with China. We need to use it. At the same time we need to understand that China, which may host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, will be required, in essence, to create its ice hockey from scratch. The Chinese are capable of making a leap forward when they need it in different sports. This will add intrigue in the Asian region, and also spur other countries - for instance, South Korea, which in 2018 will host the Olympics (South Koreans will take part in the men’s Olympic ice hockey tournament) and Japan. It is reasonable to expect the ice hockey revival in Asia," said the KHL president.
Chernyshenko said, answering a TASS question that there is no dependence between the Chinese club’s admission to the KHL and getting the right to host the 2022 Olympic Games by the country’s capital Beijing. "These two factors are not directly related. China is accustomed to planning all activities for a long period of time. And we’re in a hurry to a certain extent, so here we need to harmonise the decision-making speed somehow. In any case, China will develop ice hockey. I know that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is also actively working in this sphere. The Olympic Games will give a boost to this process. If you put an object in the favourable environment, everything is going faster," Chernyshenko said.