KHL club Sochi hasn’t paid players in two months

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Some troubling news out of Russia — HC Sochi, a first-year expansion club in the KHL, is currently embroiled in financial problems that have resulted in players not being paid since January.

More, from the AP:

The club has promised to resolve the issue by April 30. Under league rules, the club must resolve debts to players by the end of May in order to compete in the next KHL season.

”I think they’ll manage it,” [head of the KHL Players’ Trade Union Andrei] Kovalenko told The Associated Press.

Team spokesman Dmitry Isaichev told the AP that ”everyone will get everything” they are owed and that the club’s financial struggles have come as a surprise.

”I can’t say exactly what situation has occurred, but it’s extraordinary, a situation that no one could have planned for,” Isaichev. ”We couldn’t pay the players their wages, but we warned them immediately that they would receive everything in full.”

Sochi, a club created in the aftermath the 2014 Winter Olympics, made a number of splashy hires and signings in its inaugural campaign, which included ex-NHLers Cory Emmerton, Ryan Whitney and Clay Wilson.

Per AP, international sanctions and the low oil price are two major reasons for the club’s financial problems; Sochi has been partially funded by the regional Krasnodar government and state gas company Gazprom this season. According to Sportsnet, the team has yet to play to capacity at the 12,000-seat Bolshoy Ice Dome and averaged between 7,000 to 8,000 fans per game this season (HC Sochi’s season ended last week with an opening-round playoff loss.)

Not that ticket sales bring in much revenue anyway. HC Sochi tickets are priced between 100 and 500 rubles, which is roughly $2-$10 U.S.