Kontinental Hockey League - KHL

The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is the Russian counterpart to the NHL and their counterpart to the Stanley cup is the Gagarin cup. The Kontinental Hockey League is a professional hockey league that features teams from 5 different countries. These countries are Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Slovakia. The league is generally considered the best most competitive league in Europe and the league attracts players from all over Europe as well as from Canada and the United states. The Kontinental Hockey League offers good wages to the players, usually higher than those offered in other European leagues and the league is therefore able to attract good players from other European teams. The wages and the prestige is still lower than that of the NHL and players that get the chance will therefore choose to play in the NHL. Good players that are not drafted to the NHL or did not make it in the NHL after being drafted might go the Kontinental Hockey League instead. 70% of the players in the league comes from Russia. Another 16% comes from other participating countries or other Russian speaking countries. 5% comes from the United states and 5% from Scandinavia. There are rules regulating how many foreign players the teams are allowed. They are allowed no more than 5 foreign players on the rooster at any one time and no more than 4 is allowed to suit up before each game. Foreign goal keepers have a limit on how much ice time they are allowed during a season.

Kontinental Hockey League or Континентальная Хоккейная Лига (Transcribed: Kontinental'naya Khokkeynaya Liga) as it more correctly is called was founded in 2008 and have quickly gained a good reputation and international respect. The KHL was formed out of the Russian Superleague (RSL) which gave it a good start and helped the league to be able to gain an international reputation quickly. The Russian super league can trace its origin to the Soviet Championship League.

Whichever team wins are crowned Champions of Russia regardless of what country that team really comes from. At the end of the season a playoff is held where the winner is awarded the Gagarin cup. The Gagarin cup is named after the Russian cosmonaut. Juri Gagarin was the first man in space.

The Kontinental Hockey League contains 24 teams. 20 of these teams are from Russia while Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Slovakia each has one team in the league

The teams in the KHL





Barys Astana

Astana (Kazakhstan)

Amur Khabarovsk


Metallurg Novokuznetsk


Sibir Novosibirsk


Avangard Omsk Oblast


Salavat Yulaev Ufa



Traktor Chelyabinsk


Ak Bars Kazan


Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk


Metallurg Magnitogorsk


Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk


Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg



Vityaz Chekhov


Severstal Cherepovets


Dinamo Minsk

Minsk (Belarus)

Atlant Moscow Oblast


Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl



CSKA Moscow


Dynamo Moscow


Spartak Moscow


Lev Poprad

Poprad (Slovakia)

Dinamo Riga

Riga (Latvia)

SKA Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg