Belarusian NHL players continue season in Russia
Lock-out paralysation of world’s largest hockey league has favourable effect on Kontinental Hockey League
Being temporarily unemployed, some top ice hockey stars have decided to keep fit and earn money by joining KHL teams, significantly intensifying the intrigue on the Russian ice. Several Belarusian hockey players who usually play with NHL clubs have taken such a decision. Even before the official announcement of the lock-out, Dinamo Minsk was named as their likely destination. Their assistance would certainly prove helpful to the club, which has begun the new season frustratingly. However, none of the NHL players have actually chosen to join Dinamo.
Andrey Kostitsyn, the older of the two brothers, was the first to make his move, joining Chelyabinsk Traktor; the forward may even stay after the lock-out finishes, since his Nashville team decided to end his contract this summer, making him a free agent. There was originally talk of him going to Moscow club CSKA, as Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovsky has done.
Unlike Kostitsyn, Grabovsky’s decision has caused quite a stir, as he announced that he’d only consider Minsk Yunost if he chose a Belarusian squad (his former team as a junior). However, the team is currently only playing in the Supreme Hockey League, which is below Mikhail Grabovsky’s level. He has announced his eagerness to help his new club win the major KHL trophy: the Gagarin Cup.
Sergey Kostitsyn’s negotiations with Salavat Yulaev Ufa are likely to prove successful, so fans may soon also see him at forthcoming matches.