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ZhHL adds team for 2020-21 season

The Russian Hockey League is back up to eight teams.

WHL play-off semifinal: KRS Vanke Rays Shenzhen vs Tornado Moscow Region Photo by Sergei Fadeichev\TASS via Getty Images

The Russian Hockey League released the lineup of teams that will play in the league for the 2020-21 season.

In July, Dynamo St. Petersburg announced they would not be able to field a team for the season due to budget issues. The league officially confirmed their departure in the release.

In their place, the ZhHL added another team, the 7.62. The team will be based out of the Moscow region (Voskresensk). According to the ZhHL website, the numbers represent the diameter of a hockey puck.

“We are very pleased to welcome the newcomers and wish them the best in their struggle for the WHL Cup,” Sergey Yakovlev, Head of the Department for the Development of ZhKhL, said in the league’s posting, according to a translation.

“We are sure that the championship turned out to be even more interesting than the previous one. All teams are preparing hard for the start, the rosters have become more equal, which means more serious competition and even more exciting hockey for our fans,” Yakovlev continued.

The eight teams participating are:

  • 7.62, Moscow region
  • “Agidel”, Ufa
  • “Biryusa”, Krasnoyarsk
  • Kunlun Red Star Vanke Rays, Shenzhen (China)
  • “SKIF”, Nizhny Novgorod region
  • “SK Gorny”, St. Petersburg
  • Sverdlovsk region national team, Yekaterinburg
  • “Tornado”, Moscow region

Last season, the KRS Vanke Rays won the championship in their first season in the league, which they joined after the CWHL shut down. Their journey to the finals was an uphill battle as the team has to quickly relocate to Russia to finish the regular season when the COVID-19 pandemic picked up in China.

A start date and schedule for the season has not been announced yet, but at least two teams - Biryusa and Agidel - are already preparing.