KARLOVY VARY -- Citing their relatively meager budget, the directors of the Czech Extraliga club HCE Karlovy Vary have dropped their bid to enter the Russian Kontinental Hockey League next season.
The directors said that their club could muster only 20 percent of the funding level of Dinamo Riga, a KHL. club from Latvia.
The plan had Karlovy Vary ice two teams for the 2009-10 season, one squad remaining in the Czech league, while the other would join the KHL. Many observers saw the plan as not realistic, especially given the global financial situation.
Karlovy Vary is about to begin the Czech final against defending champions Slavia Prague, and if it wins would earn a lucrative berth in the IIHF Champions Hockey League next season. Such a windfall might enable the team to make a renewed bid for entry into the KHL.
Karlovy Vary, a city of 53,000 in the western part of the Czech Republic, has a substantial Russian-speaking population, and several Russian businesses have offices there.
The KHL, which was founded prior to this season, have during their short existence expressed expansion plans also for Sweden, Germany, London, Paris, Milano and the Far East.
-- with files from the New York Times