With the reality of a highly likely dissolution of the historic Russian hockey team Moscow Dynamo setting in more with each passing day, the stories are starting to pour in. TSN recently spoke with Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesknokov – the person who broke the news – in a feature today. This excerpt gives some perspective on the impact losing Moscow Dynamo would equate to in the NHL.
Although hockey fans in Winnipeg and Quebec City understand the pain of having their team stripped away, neither side had the history or the winning legacy of Dynamo. As in most situations of this ilk, the central issue appears to be money, but as most things are when dealing with the KHL, it may not be that simple.
“Hockey in Russia is not business but is more of a social program,” explained Chesnokov. “People pay between $5 and $20 to see a game. The bulk of the money comes from sponsorships. And Dynamo’s sponsors decided not to invest in the team anymore. Dynamo’s revenues cannot sustain the expenses the team has. As strange as it sounds, the oldest club in Russia does not even have its own arena.”
Assigning “blame” is a bit of a risky proposition.
The question remains as to where does the blame lie for allowing a team with such a rich history to go under? Ovechkin does not feel that the responsibility falls on the shoulders of any one person in particular.
“It’s a hard situation I didn’t talk to the owner or the guys there,” Ovechkin admitted. “If it happens, it’s not going to be one guy’s fault. It’ll be all the people who own Dynamo. They won’t give out any money any more I think.”
Chesnokov feels as though a great deal of responsibility should fall on the league itself.
“The KHL is different from the NHL in that the league does not represent individual clubs, the league doesn’t really have an interest in keeping certain clubs in the league. If a club goes under, so be it. That’s the philosophy.”
Regardless of who (or whom) is to blame, there’s no doubt that a lot of Russian hockey fans will be at a loss if the team does indeed fold (or even if it merges). As Chesnokov says, fans haven’t lost all hope, but right now is bleak. We’ll let you know if an official announcement is made.