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Russia-based ice hockey league keen to include British team

The KHL is based is Russia but has expanded to add teams in Finland, China, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Latvia.

Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) president Dmitry Chernyshenko hopes to add a British franchise to his global brand.

The KHL is based is Russia but has recently expanded to add teams in Finland, China, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Latvia and has aspirations to grow the only global ice hockey league yet further, both east and west.

It comes at a time when ice hockey in Britain is enjoying one of its strongest periods, with a thriving Elite League and the national team in the top tier of the World Championships for the second consecutive season.

Hopes also remain high that Great Britain can secure a place at the top table with qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Britain will host a pre-qualification tournament in Nottingham beginning on February 6 and if they get past Hungary, Estonia and Romania they will move onto the final qualification event with the next stop the Winter Olympics for the first time since 1948.

Having a team compete in the KHL – second globally only to the National Hockey League in North America – with British players on the roster would greatly enhance the national team's bid to play at the highest level.

Chernyshenko told the PA news agency: "There are so many rumours (about expansion) like a club coming from United Arab Emirates or a second club from China or from Japan or Great Britain.

"If we find in Great Britain a real sponsor who will support the club, we will be delighted to have the club. It is the most developed sport market in Europe. In the world outside the USA, the most developed sports market is Great Britain.

"To watch the game you should see some relevant stars and so far we don't have many British players but Great Britain has great potential because you're an English speaking country and can attract players from Canada and America who can play at a high level and for reasonable money can play with a great team.

"We had two serious potential partners from Great Britain over the last few years but we have not yet found a real solution but we are optimistic."

The league is keen to grow the sport with in the community from their franchises and insist that youth and women's hockey are key elements to promoting a family-friendly atmosphere at games.

At their recent All-Star weekend extravaganza the event saw players lay on a show rather than just a game, with players dressing up as literary icons to read poetry, substituting a conventional shootout for rock, paper, scissors, stone and having former NHL star Alexander Semin enter the shootout in tandem with his four-year-old son.

The skills challenge was overseen by female officials.

Chernyshenko, revealed fan misbehaviour will see the league come down heavily on the clubs, added: "Our business is much more social. The clubs participating in the league when they sign the certification they should run the kids system, the youth club, they should also be responsible for the women's club so it's not like the pure business like America.

"It's much more social because the break even for the clubs is highly reachable. We are trying to minimise the expenditure to maximise the effect of running the hockey business as a social engagement."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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