MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. Two-time World Champion and 1998 Olympic silver medalist Alexei Morozov was elected on Friday the president of the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
The KHL Board of Directors has unanimously voted at its session in Moscow today in favor of Morozov’s candidacy. His predecessor Dmitry Chernyshenko was appointed last month a deputy prime minister to oversee issues of sports, culture and tourism in the Russian government and, therefore, had to vacate the post of KHL’s president.
"I have signed a contract for the period of four years," Morozov told journalists after his election. "We will be cooperating with [IIHF President Rene] Fasel. I have also plans to go to the [2020 IIHF] World Ice Hockey Championship and to speak with him there."
"Negotiations with the [US-based] National Hockey League are complicated and I need some time to dig deeper [in this issue]," he continued. "NHL is behaving in a way that it cannot find common grounds with the International Olympic Committee and IIHF."
"I have plans to visit NHL for talks and to find out whether matches between NHL and KHL are possible at all," Morozov stated.
The 42-year-old new president of KHL also said he was interested in the expansion of the league by attracting more clubs from Europe and Asia.
"We will be working on the expansion of the league," Morozov said. "We need to work out now all details and will see what we have for the next year."
"We are interested in the markets of Asia and Europe. We will start working on this issue beginning this month," he added.
Morozov is now the third president of KHL since the league was established in 2008. The first president Alexander Medvedev was replaced by Dmitry Chernyshenko in 2014.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, KHL’s ex-President Chernyshenko said KHL was currently one of the world’s leading ice hockey leagues.
"I want you to understand that I am not seeking public acclaim here for myself as our instruction is to speak about achievements that we have done for people and not about our intentions," Chernyshenko said. "The League is a very serious achievement of Russia and it was an initiative of our president."
"The fact that the League currently stands as one of the leading leagues in the world is a grand achievement," Chernyshenko added.
The Kontinental Hockey League was founded in Russia in 2008 and currently lists 24 professional ice hockey clubs from Russia, Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan and Latvia.
International experts deem the KHL as the premier ice hockey league in Europe and Asia ranking it as the world’s second most important right on the heels of the US-based NHL (National Hockey League).
Last September, KHL’s ex-President Chernyshenko announced that the league chalked up 3.6 billion rubles (over $54.8 million) in revenue for the 2018/2019 season.