The jokers are between a tree and a bark. Iltalehti reported on Tuesday, citing its Russian sources, that KHL is putting pressure on the Jokers to move to Russia for the coming season.
On Wednesday, KHL announced that Kunlun Red Star will be placed in Mytishtsh. According to Russian reports, the address of Riga Dynamo will change next.
Now the gaze turns to the Jokers. What makes Jokers? What are the options?
The same message has been conveyed in the jokers' camp in recent days: we are preparing to play home games in Helsinki quite normally.
- We live in the hope that we will be able to play at home in Helsinki. That is the number one option. If that doesn't happen, then we have to look at what we can do and turn all the stones, Joker Kurri, chairman and main owner of the Jokers, told Ilta-Sanomat on Thursday.
Kunlun became the first KHL club outside Russia to be transferred to Russia for “safety”. According to Kurr, the Jokers are not planning to move to Russia at the moment.
- There has been no threat demand from KHL that we should move to Russia, Kurri assured.
- The situation in Kunlun was known a long time ago that they are playing in Mytishtsh. Dinamo in Riga probably has the same situation as we do. They too are waiting and watching how the situation develops.
If KHL recommends moving the Jokers to Russia, but the Jokers want to play in Helsinki, do you have any leverage to negotiate?
- Well, that's what we're trying to do. However, progress will not be made until July.
How threatened is the next season of the Jokers in KHL?
- No, no, no… Yes we want to play in KHL.
Due to the corona pandemic, the situation is anything but normal.
The situation in Finland and Russia is very different. The pandemic is rampant on the other side of the eastern border.
There is no realistic prospect that the pandemic situation in Russia will change for the better when the KHL regular season should start on 2 September.
There is a clear wish from the Joker camp in the direction of KHL for the match program.
- The best option for us, and probably for everyone else, would be to postpone the series a little later. It would start even in early October. That is what we have been hoping for. We could calm down a little more time and the situation, Kurri said.
Due to the corona pandemic, Russia's borders will remain closed, and the KHL office will have enough work to do.
KHL is scheduled to announce next season’s fixture list next Sunday, but the calendar is tricky to lock in when there isn’t even an exact number of teams known at the moment. Amur and Vitjaz wrestled in the worst financial difficulties.
- The number of teams is definitely one thing that is enough to nut. That's why KHL's office is in a hurry, because that's the situation, Kurri said.
According to Kurri, there is also a rush in the Joker camp. The jokers are currently considering different options, but the club does not yet have any concrete information.
- We'll come out with this when it's time. Now there are no answers in either direction. Let’s hope something happens here.