The 12th KHL season kicks off this weekend, with nearly all teams hunting for points on smaller ice rinks.

CSKA Arena, Moscow © Robanser

On the weekend, the KHL kicks off its new season with the reissue of last year’s final, between Gagarin Cup champion CSKA Moscow and Avangard Omsk. This season will bring something new with it. Many KHL clubs changed to smaller ice rinks. Were it the Vladivostok Admirals, who switched to the NHL standard of 60 × 26 meters in 2013 without much fuss, in 2016 with Amur and Medvescak Zagreb two more teams were added. The news that the IIHF wants to relocate the world championships to the smaller ice, also brought Neftekhimik, Ak Bars Kazan and Dynamo Moscow in the past season on 60 × 28 meters of ice to change. This year, Gagarin Cup finalists Avangard Omsk and the best team in the East of the previous round, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, also attracted two top teams to this “Finnish form”.

But most of the other KHL teams changed and reduced their playing area. For example, starting with the 12th KHL season starting on 1 September with Dinamo Riga, Jokerit Helsinki, Kunlun Red Star, Lokomotiv, Torpedo, Tractor and Salavat Yulaev, only seven teams on the classic 60 × 30 scale will complete their matches. SKA St. Petersburg even opted for the smallest possible 60 × 26 NHL size. Thus, the KHL Top teams play on all three different ice sizes and this brings certainly again an extra excitement and at the same time attractiveness in the league.

Which teams play on which ice size:
60 × 26: Admiral, Amur, Barys, Dynamo Moscow, SKA, HC Sochi .

60 × 28: Dynamo Minsk, Avanguard Omsk, Avtomobilist, Ak Bars, Vityaz, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Neftekhimik, Severstal, Novosibirsk, Spartak Moscow, CSKA.

60 × 30: Dynamo Riga, Jokerit Helsinki, Kunlun (Shenzhen, Beijing), Lokomotive, Torpedo, Tractor, Salavat Yulaev.

The KHL is also continuing to market in the west of Europe. Although the KHL lost the Slovenian club Slovan Bratislava due to financial problems, but you set this season on the KHL World Games. After the premiere last year in Vienna and Zurich, the venues were again a game in Switzerland. Unlike last year, however, only a single game takes place. Salavat Yulaev and Ak Bars Kazan will face two top teams from the East Conference in Davos on December 23rd. Likewise, Jokerit Helsinki will again in the Estonian capital Talinn again for the league, and operate themselves, with two games advertising on their own behalf. The Finnish KHL team plays against Severstal on 10 and 11 January 2020.