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Russia-Based Hockey League Expanding Into China

The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) plans to expand into China during its next season with a new team in Beijing, the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

KHL Deputy Chairman Roman Rotenberg told Russia’s TASS news agency on December 14 that the as-yet-unnamed team will start play in September 2016 at a venue in Beijing with a capacity of 18,000.

Rotenberg said the new team will be financed by Russian and Chinese businesses.

He said the project includes a hockey academy with several coaches for children as part of a farm club system to develop players for the future.

The KHL includes 28 teams in seven countries, but Russia dominates the league with 22 teams.

Plans for a large-scale expansion into the Europe Union have stalled since the EU imposed sanctions against Russia over its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AP, Bloomberg, and TASS