The day before the ZhHL season was set to start, the league announced the start date would be pushed back two weeks to Oct. 3.
The reasoning was two-fold.
Players from the KRS Red Stars had trouble securing their visas and have not arrived in Russia yet. According to the ZhHL, KRS players - who hail from China, Finland, the United States, and Canada - have their visas now and will arrive by Sept. 26. The team is typically based in China, but, due to the pandemic, will spend at least the beginning of the season in Russia. They will play in the Moscow region.
In addition, SK Gorny lost their sponsor at the beginning of the month. Without the financial backing, the team would not have been able to play. However, the issue was resolved by Russian Ice Hockey Federation, the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation and the Mining University of St. Petersburg and SK Gorny will compete in the season.
They would have been the second team to drop out of the ZhHL for the 2020-21 season after Dynamo St. Petersburg announced in July that they would not field a women’s team for the season due to budget issue. A new team - the 7.62 - filled the eighth spot in the league for the season.
The extra two weeks will give all the teams time to have an preseason camp as well.
According to the league’s initial schedule release, they built in extra time to the schedule to handle any extra issues that arose due to the pandemic, such as cancelling games.
The new schedule will be on available on Sept. 21.