KHL cancels the rest of its season

The Kontinental Hockey League was in the middle of its playoffs when the plug was pulled on the season

Brayton Wilson
March 25, 2020 - 8:57 am
TatNeft Arena

Photo: Kontinental Hockey League (@khl_eng)


Another professional hockey league around the world has decided to cancel its season due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Kontinental Hockey League in Russia has now officially shut down operations for the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19.

The KHL was in the middle of the Gagarin Cup playoffs with action just getting underway in the Conference Semifinal Rounds.

The league was one of the last major sports leagues around the world to suspend its season due to the coronavirus, originally halting all play on March 16. Prior to suspending the season, two of the eight playoff teams in the league made the decision to withdraw from the postseason over concerns of COVID-19.

The KHL originally decided to pause the season for a week so it could create a new format and game schedule for the six remaining Russian teams. However, with the rise in coronavirus cases in Russia, the league has decided to end its season without a champion.

"It’s unfortunate that we have to finish the season early, and it wasn’t an easy decision," KHL president Alexey Morozov said in a league statement. "I’m sure that every fan, along with us, wanted to see the conclusion of the competition. However, the health of players and their loved ones, club employees, employees of sports facilities, and, of course, the fans, is much more important.

"This decision could not be delayed, all those involved needed clarity and certainty in order to plan effectively. We thank everyone for their patience while we made this difficult decision.

"I remain hopeful that the current situation will not affect next season.

"I understand that many will be upset with the cancellation of the 2019-20 season, especially the fans of clubs that had progressed to the second round of the playoffs. However, we must follow the recommendations of health organizations.

"Take care of yourself and your loved ones in this difficult time, and we will see you very soon."

Even with the KHL season officially over, players on expiring contracts cannot sign with teams in the National Hockey League until May 1. Those players would be eligible to play in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, but the first year of their entry-level contracts would be burned if they played in the postseason.

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