Gazprom to launch a professional ice hockey league in Europe

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There is a desire in Europe to create a professional hockey league that could be able to compete with the National Hockey League (NHL) in North America, reports Interfax, quoting the Canadian media. The new league plans to attract the world's hockey stars.
According to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Star, Gazprom's deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev hired Bob Goodenaux, the former head of the NHL Players's Association and Igor Larionov, Russia-born former NHL star, to develop a league that would be based in Europe.

If Medvedev succeeds with his initiative, "the leading players of the world will be able to perform in a new professional league," writes Toronto Star. The newspaper notes that "the new league could open in the fall of 2008. The talks are already under way with TV companies over the broadcasting rights".

It is yet to be announced whether NHL players will respect their current contracts after a new league in Europe is founded.