Category Archives: VHL

Hockey and the Coronavirus: Updates

Below the jump, an attempt to put together a running list of hockey competitions that have been cancelled, suspended, or otherwise disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19. The list will be updated, and heads-up notes etc. will be much appreciated! Read on, and do check back for further updates…

LATEST UPDATE: March 26th (international hockey update)

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The Petrov Cup Playoffs Get Underway

Toros Neftekamsk (in green) take on Humo Tashkent in Petrov Cup playoff action this past weekend. (Image Source)

The Petrov Cup playoffs in the VHL, Russia’s second-tier men’s professional league, got going this weekend, so time for a look at the first-round pairings. The regular season had a dramatic conclusion; Zvezda Moscow needed a win on the last day to clinch their first-ever Silk Road Cup (the VHL’s regular-season title), and they got it too, downing HK Ryazan 4-2 to take the trophy by a single point over Dynamo St. Petersburg. And now it’s off to the post-season, and the hunt for the trophy named after legendary Soviet-era forward Vladimir Petrov. Read on, for a very quick look at some points of interest in the first round!

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Home Stretches: the VHL

A tip of the helmet from forward Mikhail Anisin to the Humo Tashkent faithful, as the Uzbek expansion team makes its way to the post-season. (Image Source)

Yesterday we looked at the current playoff picture in the KHL (update: Spartak Moscow clinched their spot today), and now it’s the turn of Russia’s second-tier men’s pro league, the VHL. The VHL is a bit closer to wrapping up its regular season than is the KHL, but there are still some things to be decided before the hunt for the Petrov Cup can get underway, so read on…

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The KHL & Other Leagues Respond to the Coronavirus Outbreak (Updated)

Shougang Arena, Beijing, home of the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star. (Image Source)

Much news this week about the outbreak of a coronavirus in China, particularly in the central province of Hubei. It is unclear yet how serious the outbreak is, and how worried we should all be, but the Chinese government has restricted travel to, from, and within the worst-hit areas. And the four Russian-based hockey leagues that include at least one Chinese team have also taken note of the situation, with one eye on the possible necessity of relocating some games. Read on, for a quick run-down of what steps the various the KHL, ZhHL, VHL, and MHL have taken so far, and what they might do if the coronavirus situation does not improve.

Most recent updates on January 29th.

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Playoff Pictures

CSKA Moscow have secured a KHL playoff spot, but who will join them? (Image Source)

The various All-Star Festivities are out of the way (a very good time seems to have been had by all), and for the various Russian hockey leagues, it’s a straight drive from here to the end of the regular season, and thence the playoffs. So time now to set the various playoff scenarios, and see how the races are shaping up in the KHL, Women’s Hockey League, VHL, and MHL. Read on!

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The VHL’s Newcomers in 2019-20

Dynamo Tver (in blue) vs. Humo Tashkent in 2019-20 VHL action. (Image Source)

It was a bit of a wild and crazy summer in the VHL, Russia’s second-highest men’s professional league. After initially announcing the addition of three new teams (plus one relocated team) to what had been a 29-team league, the VHL released its 2019-20 schedule… and then added two more teams. And the quest for the Silk Road Cup, the league’s regular-season championship (to be followed by the Petrov Cup playoffs), has been a 34-team affair in 2019-20. So how are these new teams doing, on the ice and at the box office? Read on, for an interim progress report.

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Hockey Comes (Back) to Uzbekistan

Semurg Tashkent celebrate winning the inaugural Hockey Championship of Uzbekistan in early 2019. (Image Source)

This past week was a big one in the halls of the International Ice Hockey Federation, as the world hockey body admitted five new members, bringing total IIHF membership to 81 nations. The new countries are: Algeria, Colombia, Iran, Lebanon, and Uzbekistan, and it’s the fifth name on that list that I particularly want to talk about here. Uzbekistan, the Central Asian nation of 32 million inhabitants, and former constituent Republic of the USSR, has been in the hockey news a bit this summer, with the Humo Tashkent club joining Russia’s second-tier professional VHL. And now the nation is an IIHF member, which means, among other things, that it has the right to participate in World Championships. Read on, as we talk a bit about the (re-)birth of hockey in Uzbekistan!

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Down on the Farm: The VHL and the KHL

Sometimes the little guy wins! Yermak Angarsk’s Matvei Tymchenko scores against his team’s KHL affiliate, Admiral Vladivostok, during a summer-2019 pre-season exhibition game. Yermak won it, too, by a 2-1 score. (Image Source)

We talk a lot about the KHL here, and a certain amount about the VHL; now it is time to talk about them both together! The VHL (the “Vysshaya Khokkeinaya Liga” or “Higher Hockey League”) is the second tier of Russian men’s professional hockey, formerly the second division of the Soviet and Russian championship system back when promotion and relegation took place. The league took its current form (more or less) in 2010, and this summer expanded to a record 34 teams, with clubs in Russia (27), Kazakhstan (3), China (3), and Uzbekistan (1); those teams compete for the Silk Road Cup (the regular-season championship) and the Petrov Cup (the playoff title). The VHL is administered by the Russian Hockey Federation, but serves in large part as the primary farm-team league for the KHL; it is the Russian equivalent of the North American AHL, in other words. Read on, for some discussion of the VHL’s relationship with the KHL, and how it all works.

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2019-20 Schedules Released for the MHL and VHL

Loko Yaroslavl, 2018-19 Kharlamov Cup Champions in the MHL. (Image Source)

There is more and more detailed info about the 2019-20 hockey season in Russia coming our way all the time now, but today was particularly news-ful. We now have the 2019-20 schedule for the junior-age MHL and the revised calendar for the second-tier professional VHL. Read on, for some details on what each league will look like this coming season!

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Late to the Dance

HK Rostov celebrate the 2018-19 Federations Cup, the championship of Russia’s third-tier men’s professional league. (Image Source)

Well, this is an odd one. Just a week ago, the VHL, Russia’s second-highest men’s professional league, rolled out its format and its schedule for 2019-20, along with a team-list of 32 clubs, including one re-located team and three new arrivals. Everything seemed set, until today, when the VHL announced that two MORE teams will be joining the league for the upcoming season! Read on, for the details…

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