Most of the 2010 World Hockey Summit news we’ve been focusing on centers on confrontations. Whether it involves the IIHF president saying he would “fight like hell” to stop the NHL from expanding into Europe or Brian Burke making a passionate explanation for why the NHL faces a tough choice with the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it’s always more fun when a little blood is boiling.
That being said, not every discussion is meant to make waves. In fact, some of the messages are downright positive.
KHL president Alexander Medvedev discussed his league’s relationship with the NHL today and much of what he said centered on optimism.
“In the beginning, maybe we could make some parallels with the Cold War,” Medvedev said. “But now, the situation is much better, because we have established a system of dispute resolution, and this system is based on the gentleman’s agreement of respecting the contracts.”
“Our target is to finally come to a comprehensive framework agreement with the NHL, which will cover all the aspects of the competition, including preparation of the players,” Medvedev said.
“Instead of fighting and competing for the limited amount of top-level players, [we want] to create a system which will have more stars, more very good players and diversified talents.”
Medvedev points out a disturbing fact that only 12 of 250 young Russian players made the NHL after moving to the United States to play junior hockey. Even if his comments seem a little too friendly for a league that is absolutely attempting to take a few pieces of the NHL’s pie, it’s difficult to discount the fact that all of hockey would benefit if its hotbed countries were thriving rather than struggling to survive.
Someday, hopefully, the NHL and KHL will move from a “gentleman’s agreement” to a legally binding transfer agreement with some actual teeth. While the two leagues will fight over players more than eyeballs over the next few years, there’s no reason that they can’t improve their relationship.
Well, except for that whole … “money” thing.