Are you tired of having to dust off old copies of NHL 94 to get your Pavel Bure and Teemu Selanne fix? Well, dust no more: The World Legends Hockey League is coming soon!
Bure is the chairman of this new “non-commercial” league that will feature players 45 years and older from Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Germany.
The formation of WLHL will be celebrated with an All Star Team Match where one team includes Russian stars and the other team is made up of stars from the participating countries as well as Canada and the United States. The game will be played in Moscow in the first week of October 2015, the date is not set. The game will be played in the newly built VTB Ice Palace Arena, Moscow Legends Park, where also the 2016 World Championship will be played.
The requirement is that the players must have played international games for his country in any official tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation, IIHF. Each squad must contain 27 persons, 20 players of whom two shall be goalkeepers and a team management which shall consist of seven people. Injured players may be replaced during the matches. For the referees, the requirement is that they must have been the IIHF licensed judges.
Preliminary games will begin in November, with Finland and Sweden facing off in Lappeenranta; the Czech Republic taking on Slovakia in Karlovy Vary (CR); and Germany losing to Russia in Dresden.
IIHF president Rene Fasel is quoted as saying the WLHL is “an excellent idea,” which we assume means the players will make money for the league’s backers but work for pennies. Or the Russian equivalent of pennies.
As Allan Muir notes on SI.com, this is league will likely give fans another chance to watch Bure, Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom do their thing, as well as Dominik Hasek, who will no doubt leverage this tournament into a one-year contract with an NHL team. (Looking at you, Edmonton.)
While North American players will participate in the opening all-star game, there are no American and Canadian teams in the WLHL. Hopefully this is rectified for 2016-17 so Martin Brodeur can own every record in yet another league.
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