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The new trend in the KHL delights many. But naturalization is another blow to competition in the league.

Date: July 19, 2024 Time: 02:19:43

The new trend in the KHL delights many. But naturalization is another blow to competition in the league.

Jul 28, 2023 11:00 UTC Audio Version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

Why, then, did they create problems for most of the clubs by lowering the limit of foreign players?

Everyone has long understood that it is very difficult to invite foreign hockey players to the modern KHL. Some are under pressure from politics and public opinion, others are afraid of everyday difficulties, and still others are embarrassed by the instability of the ruble exchange rate. Therefore, he is no longer surprised when he reads the information that Korban Knight thought long and hard about sabotaging the remaining year of his contract with Avangard. Is this true or an artificial escalation of the situation?

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And even more surprising that at a time like this there is a new trend: the naturalization of North American players. That is, some citizens of the United States and Canada not only continue to play in the KHL with pleasure, but also receive Russian passports by the grace of the President of Russia.

Just yesterday it became known that the American defender Brennan Menell became the new Russian. Previously, he spent two seasons in the KHL (one year with Dynamo Minsk and Moscow), and now he has signed a three-year contract with the blue and white. For the first time, Menell’s desire to obtain a Russian passport became known at the end of April, three months passed, and now the American’s dream came true.

brennan menell

Photo: photo.khl.ru

There is no doubt that Canadian Brendan Leipsik will soon be congratulated on his new citizenship. He moved to SKA in the offseason, signed a two-year deal with the Petersburgers and, following Menell’s lead, wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin.

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Therefore, by the beginning of the season, we will get two foreign players naturalized in Russia from abroad, despite the fact that, in principle, there have never been such stories before. And it is understandable – in our country they have always been proud that, unlike football, basketball and other sports, the hockey team can do without legionnaires. However, now the situation has changed – the national team simply has nowhere to play, and now they look at naturalization at the top differently. And at the very top, it is completely welcome, because in our time, every Russian passport in the hands of a person born in the West is a small geopolitical victory.

And everything seems to be fine all around. Foreign strongmen settle in Russia, improving the KHL and at the same time not losing anything: the native teams do not remember them due to the gigantic competition, and Lipsik himself has completely become persona non grata in the North American sports segment. And the KHL clubs are freeing up legionnaire posts by issuing “correct” passports to the Vikings. If the trend continues, the next to write a letter to the president will be Reed Boucher and Alex Galchenyuk, who landed on extremely unpleasant stories on the other side of the Atlantic. And in this case, there will be more for two more grandmasters with Russian citizenship in the KHL.

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But is it correct that naturalization, originally invented to strengthen national teams, in our hockey is now working for the benefit of individual clubs? Probably, there is nothing reprehensible in this, but here is the problem: why then did the KHL reduce the limit of foreign players at the suggestion of the Ministry of Sports? It seems to ensure that the places of young Russian talents are not taken by foreigners. But in this perspective, naturalization is an evasion of the limit and, consequently, an obstacle to the fulfillment of its main task, as everyone tells us. So what is the logic? This question becomes even more relevant, given that both the reduction of the limit and naturalization are resolved at the highest level. It turns out that there is a contradiction in itself.

The reduction in the number of foreigners per Russian club has already hit the market in the KHL so hard, creating the conditions for monstrous inequality and destroying many positive aspects of the introduction of a hard salary cap. Naturalization only increases stratification. While the clubs of the periphery, in which foreigners who have not yet made themselves known with great love for birches and the Russian tricolor, suffocate under the conditions of a hard cap and overpay any hockey player more or less decent with the “correct passport, Moscow and St. Petersburg receive an additional advantage. It is no coincidence that Leipsik himself thought of Russian citizenship not in Magnitogorsk, but in the northern capital.

brendan leipsik

Photo: vk.com

It is clear that the huge difference in living standards in cities is a reality. But we are talking about hockey, and where are the regulators of the KHL? And, alas, there aren’t, because the most important decisions in the league are lowered from above and in the form of order.

And it is also interesting: how will naturalized foreigners be treated in the Russian team if our team soon returns to international tournaments? Will Leipsik and Menell, players of the highest quality, become candidates for our team or will we again remember about true patriotism? But it would be kind of stupid not to take strong hockey players with the “correct” passport to the same World Cup without good and adequate reasons.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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