President Putin hopes to see Swedish club playing in Kontinental Hockey League

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ST. PETERSBURG, April 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he admired the Swedish national ice hockey team and expressed hope that a hockey club from Sweden would be playing someday in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

The Russian president spoke about ice hockey during his visit to the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, which was also attended on Tuesday by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Putin said that the sport is uniting both countries in the humanitarian sphere.

“It would have been great, mister prime minister, if one of your clubs played in the Kontinental Hockey League,” Putin said.

“In the course of many years we have seen marvelous Soviet and Russian players and ice hockey teams,” Lofven said. “My team is unable at the moment to participate in the KHL tournament, but we will see what future brings.”

Speaking earlier at the forum, Prime Minister Lofven recited several lines from Alexander Pushkin’s poem ‘The Bronze Horseman’ about the city of St. Petersburg: “The Swede from here will be frightened; / Here a great city will be wrought / To spite our neighborhood conceited.”

Putin in turn recited lines from another poem by Pushkin ‘Poltava’: “Hurrah! The Swedes, at last, are broken.”

“There are such lines about the battle of Poltava,” the Russian president said. “We often come to think about these lines as we watch the Russian national ice hockey team playing against Tre Kronor. To the great disappointment of our hockey fans we do not get a chance of reciting them often, because the outstanding Swedish team is pleasing its fans as well.”

The Kontinental Hockey League was founded in Russia in 2008 and currently lists 25 professional ice hockey clubs from Russia, Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.

International experts deem the KHL as the premier ice hockey league in Europe and Asia ranking it as the world’s second most important right on the heels of the US-based NHL (the National Hockey League).

KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko stated in September 2018 that the league chalked up 3.5 billion rubles (over $50.3 million) in revenue for the 2017/2018 season.

Read the original article in full at TASS

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