For the first time in its history, a KHL team is heading to Great Britain to play exhibition games as part of its pre-season preparation.
Medvescak Zagreb has set up two games in August against Cardiff Devils of the British Elite League. The Bears head to the Welsh capital on August 13 and 14 with a view to honing the pre-season preparations and helping last season’s Elite League runner-up get a closer level at top-level European hockey during a week-long training camp.
Todd Kelman, Devils’ marketing director, told the club website: “Next to the NHL, the KHL is the best league in the world. They are constantly looking to grow their global reach and we are very pleased to be able to host Zagreb in August.
“Our fans will be in for a real treat, the KHL is such a skilled league, it will be a different style of hockey than fans in the UK are used to and I know it will be a great experience for all of us.”
Better known as a hotbed of rugby, Cardiff has hosted a British top-flight hockey team since the late 1980s. The Devils recently opened a new arena – Ice Arena Wales – and are looking to challenge the perennial powerhouses of Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers for the title in the coming campaign.
Although Medvescak’s trip is the first time a team competing in the KHL will play in Britain, it isn’t the first time British fans have seen teams from this league. Dynamo Moscow has made more than one visit, starting in 1990 with games at Durham Wasps and Whitley Warriors and returning in 2001 to beat Sheffield 5-1.