Puck Daddy - NHL

Two rather interesting developments on the international hockey front today. First, James Mirtle is reporting on a breaking story over in Europe: That the leading pro leagues in Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland are establishing a new organization named "Hockey Europe."

Mirtle believes this is an aggressive consolidation of power in an effort to avoid bullying from either the NHL or the Russian Kontinental Hockey League.

Then again, it could also be a reaction to the financial inequities in IIHF membership. From Mirtle:

According to one Finnish reader, one sticking point has been the fact that "leagues are shut down in November, December and February for IIHF tournaments" and players are "paid by their clubs" while the revenue from television and the gate at those events is going to the IIHF.

Interesting stuff, especially when you consider the progress that's been reported in establishing new player transfer agreements with everyone outside of the KHL. How will this news affect those developments? And have these people ever seen Gary Bettman when someone tries to dictate terms to him?

But the other big story today is the KHL's formal reaction to the death of New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov at a game this month. We asked for critics to give the KHL an opportunity to change its approach and policies after the tragedy. The KHL Board of Directors have made an important first step, including a correction to perhaps the most disgusting facet of Cherepanov's death: The fact that there wasn't an ambulance there for him. From the KHL:

The Board also adopted changes to the Open Championship of Russia - KHL Championship Regulations, which go into immediate effect: two ambulances, equipped according to established regulations, must be kept on duty at each game. 

The Board adopted a resolution recommending that League teams ensure the presence of professional specialists - cardiologists, ophthalmologists and surgeons - at KHL Championship games, who could provide medical assistance to both athletes and spectators. 

Jagr's request for a croupier on 24-hour call was denied. Full text of the KHL's news release after the jump.

The New York Times summarized the news below, but here's the raw data from the KHL:

The Board of Directors of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) adopted a number of important resolutions at its October 21 meeting that are of great consequence to the future operations of the League.  The meeting focused primarily on matters involving internal medical support services, first and foremost those concerning the medical monitoring of athletes.

Most significantly, the Board heard a preliminary report from a special KHL commission investigating the circumstances of the death of Omsk Avangard hockey player Alexei Cherepanov.  As a result, the Board resolved to adopt a series of measures aimed at preventing future tragedies in hockey:

-  Members of the Board took note of the fact that the tragedy in Chekhov demands more serious measures than those currently within the competence of the KHL. The League President addressed a letter to Russia 's Health and Social Development Minister with a request to upgrade the regulations regarding the mandatory equipment required on board all ambulances on duty at all mass sports and entertainment events.

- The director of HC Vityaz and the director of the Vityaz Ice Arena have been disqualified for egregious violations of KHL Championship Regulations.  They will no longer work within the League system.  A commission has further detected violations in the medical arrangements provided for the KHL Championship game between Neftehimik and Spartak.  The Neftehimik (Nizhnekamsk) hockey club has been held accountable for the violation in accordance with the established Regulations.

- The Board of Director instructed the KHL Medical Center to immediately introduce a program providing players with a "single electronic medical passport for athletes," which must containing key information about a wide range of medical issues. 

- The League will employ the KHL Medical Center to conduct in-depth medical examinations of 67 young hockey players between November and December of this year. 

- League teams must further complete a comprehensive health examination of professional hockey players at appropriate health care institutions by March 30, 2009. 

- The Board also adopted changes to the Open Championship of Russia - KHL Championship Regulations, which go into immediate effect: two ambulances, equipped according to established regulations, must be kept on duty at each game. 

- The Board adopted a resolution recommending that League teams ensure the presence of professional specialists - cardiologists, ophthalmologists and surgeons - at KHL Championship games, who could provide medical assistance to both athletes and spectators. 

- A general seminar for KHL team doctors will also shortly be conducted under the aegis of the KHL Medical Center .

- A special KHL commission will complete a full infrastructure inspection at League teams' schools for children and the youth (game and training exercise venues, safety systems and medical provision) by December 30 of this year.  It was resolved that prior of the League's junior draft, all participating players will undergo an in-depth medical examination.

- The Board of Directors further resolved to expand the practice of match inspections conducted by League commissioners.  The Board also resolved to extend the commissioners' powers, up to and including their authority to cancel games should they fail to meet the requirements of the Regulations.  It was resolved to enhance the League's monitoring of team officials' adherence to Labor Regulations on points concerning the employment of athletes who are under the age of 18.

The League will also soon conclude an agreement with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and begin a full-scale monitoring of KHL team players for doping as of February 1, 2009.

In administrative news, the KHL Board elected a new Chairman.  Vyacheslav Fetisov, a sporting legend who has won World and Olympic Games Championships and now serves on the Federation Council, was elected as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Also, the KHL Board of Directors resolved to create a KHL Board of Trustees, which will be headed by the Chief-of-Staff of the Presidential Administration, Sergei Naryshkin.  The Board of Trustees will feature prominent state officials, famous athletes, and representatives of both the country's business and cultural elite. 

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