Top-10 Kontinental Hokey League clubs

article 22.05.2019

At the height of the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia, the Information agency Credinform presents a ranking of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) clubs by total assets. Using the Information and Analytical System Globas, the experts of the Agency selected Top-10 of the KHL teams with the largest amount of assets. To get the total value of the assets of the club, the salary projects of the players was taken into account. It was also analyzed which of the KHL clubs is the main supplier of players for the national team.

The Kontinental Hockey League is an open international hockey league that unites clubs from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Latvia, Slovakia and Finland. The first KHL championship was held in the 2008/09 season. KHL is the most prestigious and first in strength division of professional hockey in Russia. The main trophy of the League is the Gagarin Cup1.

Unlike football, hockey player’s value is determined by his contract, i.e. the amount that a sports organization spends on paying salaries to a hockey player while he plays for a club.

Transitions of players between clubs are possible only with the full consent of the player. Moreover, the receiving party fully redeems the salary contract from the previous club. Financial conditions for each hockey player are individual and depend on many factors, so the process of such a transition is very difficult. Most often, the transition to other teams is carried out in the status of a free agent, i.e. when the contract expired and all obligations of the player to the club are fully fulfilled.

Table 1. Assets of Top-10 KHL clubs
Rank Name Balance sheet assets, billion RUB Salary project, billion RUB Total assets value, billion RUB The most valuable player
11.20 2.17 13.37 Aleksei Marchenko (125 million RUB per year)
Saint Petersburg
4.66 2.11 6.77 Pavel Datsyuk (170 million RUB per year)
3 AK Bars
Ак Барс
3.42 1.73 5.15 Danis Zaripov (130 million RUB per year)
4 HC Avangard
1.55 1.61 3.16 Cody Franson (90 million RUB per year)
5 HC Salavat Yulaev
Салават Юлаев
1.36 1.48 2.84 Linus Omark (150 million RUB per year)
6 HC Metallurg Mg
ХК Металлург Мг
0.80 1.78 2.58 Sergei Mozyakin (180 million RUB per year)
7 HC Dynamo M
0.91 1.11 2.02 Vadim Schipachev (120 million RUB per year)
8 HC Lokomotiv
0.48 1.06 1.54 Brandon Kozun (80 million RUB per year)
9 HC Vityaz
0.49 0.86 1.35 Juuso Puustinen (information is not disclosed)
10 HC Neftekhimik
0.83 0.51 1.34 Alexander Semin (information is not disclosed)

Source:Information and Analytical System Globas by Credinform, data from Sport-express and official KHL website.

PHC CSKA with the highest balance sheet assets (11,20 billion RUB) and the salary project amount (2.17 billion rubles) is ranked the first. Having many trophies of the USSR championships, CSKA is the most titled club in the history of national and world hockey. However, for all the time of performance in the KHL, the team won the Gagarin Cup only once. There was such a memorable event in the current season 2018/19. The most valuable player of the club is Alexei Marchenko, the defender and Olympic champion of the 2018 games. The player is also included in the Top-10 of the highest-paid KHL players. Moreover, CSKA is the base club for the Russian national hockey team. At the World Championship 2019 in Slovakia, 6 players of this team were summoned at once.

The second is HC SKA from Saint Petersburg. Despite the club has 2,5 times less total assets (4,66 billion RUB) than the leader of the ranking, it is not far behind in terms of the salary project (2,11 billion RUB). Over the entire period of the KHL's performances, HC SKA became the two-time winner of the Gagarin Cup and won many other significant trophies. The most valuable player is Pavel Datsyuk, the center forward and the captain of the team. Olympic champion of the games in 2018, he played in the NHL2 for 16 years and won the Stanley Cup3. However, the attacker was not summoned to Slovakia. Nevertheless, 3 players were called to the 2019 World Championship from HC SKA. A year earlier, in the winter games of 2018, 15 athletes from the Saint Petersburg team were represented in the Russian team.

AK Bars won the KHL trophy for three times. By victories, the club from Tatarstan is the sole leader. Danis Zaripov, the captain of the team, is the most titled, and therefore the most valuable player: a three-time World Champion, five-time winner of the Gagarin Cup. Due to its sporting success, the total asset value of the club is 5,15 billion RUB.

The most valuable player of the whole League is Sergey Mozyakin, the winger of Magnitogorsk Metallurg and Olympic champion of the games of 2018. The club twice in its history became the winner of the Gagarin Cup. One of the most successful Russian hockey players, Evgeny Malkin, the NHL star and a three-time Stanley Cup winner, is the trainee of the club from Magnitogorsk.

The most famous and successful Russian hockey player, a member of the national team at the World Championships 2019, Alexander Ovechkin was trained by Dynamo Moscow hockey club. In the 2012/13 season, during the game break (lockout) in the NHL4, Ovechkin helped his home club win the main Cup of the Kontinental League for the second time running. However, after that, the team never played in the final playoffs, losing the tournament in earlier stages.

Lokomotiv from Yaroslavl with total asset value of 1,54 billion RUB is ranked the 8th. September 7, 2011 near Yaroslavl, there was a terrible tragedy that shook not only Russia, but the whole world. The main team of the hockey club died in a plane crash. The players were supposed to arrive at their starting game of the 2011/12 season in Minsk. In the 2011/12 season, Lokomotiv did not play in the KHL, and together with his youth team, which later became the main one, took part in the Supreme Hockey League5. However, after only a year, the team returned to the KHL and reached the playoffs of the Gagarin Cup.

It is noteworthy that only one of the top 10 KHL clubs is privately owned. HC Neftekhimik through a chain of organizations belongs to theTaif JSC group of companies. The owner of the group is a Russian entrepreneur Radik Mintimerovich Shaimiev.

The three hockey teams are non-profit organizations: HC Vityaz, Metallurg, HC Salavat Yulaev.

The ultimate owners of the remaining teams are the state structures that own hockey clubs through the largest corporations. So, HC SKA and HC Avangard are controlled by the Russian government through JSC Gazprom; HC Lokomotiv through Russian Railways JSC; PFC CSKA and AK Bars through major domestic oil companies: Rosneft and Tatneft. Like the football club of the same name, Moscow Dynamo is owned by the power structures of Russia.

The ranking results showed that, unlike football, the Top-10 KHL teams are clubs, having achieved serious sports success. All presented hockey teams are regular participants, finalists and winners of the playoff draw. Six out of ten Top teams are Gagarin Cup winners and multiple national champions. Hockey can justly be considered as one of the most spectacular and interesting sports, where victories and successes are achieved only with the Team.

1 The Gagarin Cup is the main hockey prize of the Kontinental Hockey League, awarded to the winner of the KHL playoffs series; the equivalent of the Stanley Cup in the NHL.
2 The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional sports organization that unites the hockey clubs of the USA and Canada, the most prestigious hockey league in the world.
3 The Stanley Cup is the main hockey prize of the National Hockey League, awarded to the winner of the NHL playoff series; the equivalent of the Gagarin Cup in the KHL.
4 Players and club owners could not reach an agreement on salaries and bonuses, which led to the postponement of the season.
5 The Supreme Hockey League (VHL) is an open international hockey league, which is also the second most powerful division of professional hockey in Russia after the KHL.