30 April 2021
April 30 is the official end of the season for all those leagues under the KHL umbrella. For our club, though, there isn’t much sense of conclusion: the men’s team ended its campaign back in February, while the women are still awaiting a date for their final series. That showdown against Agidel had to be postponed after several Ufa players tested positive for COVID. Following the postponement of the Women’s World Championship, switched from May to August, it seems likely that this battle will serve as a curtain-raiser for the new season, similar to the Super Cups seen in many European soccer leagues.
Despite all that, April 30 is still a significant date. All current contracts that run until the end of the season expire today, meaning that tomorrow is time to make the decisions that will start to shape our team for the new season.
But, before making personnel decisions, we also need to take a strategic decision that goes far beyond the life of our club. That’s because the coming season is an Olympic campaign. The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing are the very reason our club was established back in 2016. This is what we have worked towards for five years, overcoming all the difficulties that inevitably arise when developing a sport in a country where it was largely unknown. In spite of everything, we have achieved great things and in just a few short months we will have the chance to put this before the wider hockey world.
Speaking of the strategic decisions still to come, we’re looking at our relationship with the Chinese Hockey Association as our path to the Olympics reaches the final straight. Preparing team China for the Games is the association’s prerogative, and now everyone involved in this process must work together under their aegis. How and when the national team will prepare? Which players will be involved? And, for those from the KHL, how can we minimize the risk of injury while ensuring peak form at the key moment? All these questions will be carefully plotted by the directors of China’s hockey program and our club looks forward to working with them. The Olympics are, and have always been, our biggest goal.
Only once we have that general plan in place can the management at Kunlun Red Star start to build a team for the coming season. And, of course, we’ll be first to update you on that process as it progresses.