Junior Hockey League (Russia)
The Junior Hockey League (MHL) (Russian: Молодежная Хоккейная Лига (МХЛ), romanized: Molodezhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga), sometimes translated as the Minor or Youth Hockey League, is a major junior ice hockey league in Eurasia, founded in 2009. It currently consists of 33 teams from 4 countries. Currently, all teams but one are subsidiaries (feeder teams) for their respective KHL or VHL professional counterparts. A player's age cannot be older than 20. The Kharlamov Cup, named after star ice hockey player Valeri Kharlamov, is awarded annually as the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia's official Junior Championship, following a 16-team playoff at the end of the regular season.
|Motto||Лига Сильных (Liga Silnykh, The League of the Strong)|
|No. of teams||33|
|Country|| China (1 team)|
Kazakhstan (2 teams)
Latvia (1 team)
Russia (29 teams)
|Loko Yaroslavl (3rd title)|
|Most titles||Loko Yaroslavl (3)|
|TV partner(s)||KHL-TV (Russia (as part of the NTV Plus package), International (through KHL's website))|
Teams in 2017–18Edit
|Season||Kharlamov Cup Winner||Kharlamov Cup finalist||Final score||Eastern Conference winner||Western conference winner||Regular season winner|
|2009–10||Stalnye Lisy||Kuznetskie Medvedi||3–1||Stalnye Lisy (54 games, 135 points)||Krylya Sovetov (66 games, 119 points)||Stalnye Lisy (41-4-4-5)|
|2010–11||Krasnaya Armiya||Stalnye Lisy||4–0||Tolpar Ufa (53 games, 121 points)||MHC Khimik (56 games, 107 points)||Tolpar Ufa (37-1-8-7)|
|2011–12||Omskie Yastreby||Krasnaya Armiya||4–1||Omskie Yastreby (60 games, 114 points)||Almaz (60 games, 128 points)||Almaz (40-2-2-14)|
|2012–13||Omskie Yastreby||MHC Spartak||4–3||Omskie Yastreby (61 games, 151 points)||Atlanty (64 games, 135 points)||Omskie Yastreby (43-10-2-6)|
|2013–14||MHC Spartak||Krasnaya Armiya||4–3||MHC Bars (56 games, 135 points)||Loko Yaroslavl (56 games, 136 points)||Loko Yaroslavl (39-8-3-6)|
|2014–15||Chaika Nizhny Novgorod||SKA-1946||4–1||Belye Medvedi (54 games, 124 points)||Loko Yaroslavl (56 games, 122 points)||Belye Medvedi (36-7-2-9)|
|2015–16||Loko Yaroslavl||Chaika Nizhny Novgorod||4–1||Omskie Yastreby (44 games, 93 points)||Loko Yaroslavl (42 games, 92 points)||Omskie Yastreby (26-6-3-9)|
|2016–17||Krasnaya Armiya||Reaktor||4–0||Reaktor (60 games, 123 points)||SKA-1946 (60 games, 121 points)||Reaktor (36-4-7-13)|
|2017–18||Loko Jaroslavl||SKA-1946||4–2||Loko (64 games, 162 points)||SKA-1946 (64 games, 155 points)||Loko (47-9-3-5)|
In the first MHL season, 22 teams participated, all from Russia. The MHL opened its doors on September 4, 2009 in Moscow, when the first ever MHL game was played between MHC Dynamo (then the junior team of Dynamo Moscow) and CSKA-Red Army (the junior team of CSKA Moscow) with Dynamo picking up the historic 6–2 victory.
The 2010 Challenge Cup (Russian: Кубок Вызова, Kubok Vyzova), the all-star game of the MHL, was played on February 6 in the Ice Palace in Saint Petersburg. The Western Conference team defeated the Eastern Conference team 6–4. The last matches of the regular season were played on March 8, 2010. Steel Foxes (the junior team of Metallurg Magnitogorsk) won the Eastern Conference regular season and the overall MHL regular season with 135 points in 54 games. Soviet Wings won the Western Conference regular season with 119 points in 66 games.
The playoffs started on March 13, 2010. No teams of the Western Conference made it past the round of 16 of the playoffs. Steel Foxes and Kuznetskie Medvedi (the junior team of Metallurg Novokuznetsk) reached the playoff finals for the Kharlamov Cup. The first game of the best-of-five series between these two clubs was played on April 21, 2010. Steel Foxes won the first ever Kharlamov Cup after defeating Kuznetsk Bears 3–2 on April 26, 2010 and winning the series 3–1. Belye Medvedi (the junior team of Traktor Chelyabinsk) and Tolpar (the junior team of Salavat Yulaev Ufa) lost the semi-finals series of the playoffs and played in a two-legged tie for the third place. The first match of the tie was played on April 20, 2010 on Belye Medvedi's home ice and the second leg on April 24 on Tolpar's home ice. Tolpar won both games, first 4–2, second 5–2 and clinched third place of the first season of the MHL.
The number of teams was expanded from 22 in the inaugural season to 29 in the second season. 8 new teams joined the league while Dynamo Moscow's junior team left the league. Sheriff, the junior team of HC MVD in the inaugural season, was moved to Tver and would serve as the junior team of UHC Dynamo in the second season. Phoenix was renamed to MHC Khimik. MHC Krylya Sovetov was reunited with PHC Krylya Sovetov (playing in the VHL) and the MHL team of the newly reunited club was moved to Dmitrov. Among the new teams were teams from Belarus (Minskie Zubry (then the junior team of Dinamo Minsk) and MHC Yunost (the junior team of Yunost Minsk)) and Latvia (HC Riga (the junior team of Dinamo Riga)), thus making the league international. Both conferences were divided into 2 divisions each.
The regular season started on 4 September 2010 in Magnitogorsk with a match for the Opening Cup between last year's Kharlamov Cup playoff finalists Steel Foxes and Kuznetskie Medvedi. Steel Foxes won the match with 8 goals to 1. The 2011 Challenge Cup took place in Ufa on 12 February 2011. As in 2010, the match pitted the best players of the Western Conference on one side against the best players of the Eastern Conference on the other side. In the West, MHC Khimik won the regular season, while in the East, Tolpar Ufa was the winner.
The playoffs were for the first time separate in each conference, with the two winners meeting in the Kharlamov Cup final. In the final, the Red Army team from Moscow defeated the Steel Foxes from Magnitogorsk with a 4–0 sweep.
For the 2011–12 season, a second division named MHL-B was established, which features mostly junior teams of VHL teams. A relegation and promotion system is in place between the MHL and MHL-B. The number of MHL teams was expanded from 29 to 32. One team, Krylya Sovetov, left the league, while 4 new teams joined: Tatranskí Vlci from Spišská Nová Ves, Slovakia (the junior team of Lev Poprad), Kapitan Stupino from Stupino, Snezhnye Barsy from Astana, Kazakhstan (the junior team of Barys Astana) and Mamonty Yugry from Khanty-Mansiysk (the junior team of Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk). Minskie Zubry were renamed to Dinamo-Shinnik and moved to Babruysk. Sheriff was renamed to MHC MVD and moved from Tver to Balashikha.
The 2012 Challenge Cup took place in Magnitogorsk on 11 February 2012. The first ever Future Cup (Russian: Кубок Будущего, Kubok Budushchego) took place in Chelyabinsk on 13 March 2012 and featured the best under-18 players (not born before 1 January 1994) of both the MHL and the MHL-B division.
The regular season winners were the Omsk Hawks (the junior team of Avangard Omsk) in the East and Almaz Cherepovets (the junior team of Severstal Cherepovets) in the West. Omsk Hawks also made it to the Kharlamov Cup final, where they defeated the Red Army team from Moscow with a 4–1 series win.
For their fourth season, the MHL expanded to Czech Republic and Hungary, with the junior team of HC Energie Karlovy Vary and Patriot Budapest joining. The two Russian teams Kristall Berdsk and HC Oktan Perm were promoted from MHL-B, while Ladya Togliatti (the junior team of Lada Togliatti) and HC Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk were relegated. Slovak team Tatranskí Vlci withdrew from the league. These changes brought the number of teams up to 33, representing 6 countries.
The Omsk Hawks once again made it to the Kharlamov Cup final, where this time they defeated MHC Spartak (the junior team of Spartak Moscow) from Moscow in 7 games, winning the seventh game in overtime thanks to Kirill Rasskazov. Omsk Hawks also became the first team ever to not only win 2 Kharlamov Cups, but also the first team to ever repeat as Kharlamov Cup champions.
For the fifth season, the league expanded to 40 teams, divided into two conferences with two divisions each. New teams are the junior team of EC Red Bull Salzburg from Austria, Molodaya Gvardia from Ukraine (the junior team of HC Donbass) and Dinamo Saint Petersburg. Ladya Togliatti, Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk, Junior Kurgan (the junior team of Zauralie Kurgan) and HC Chelny were promoted from MHL-B. Oktan Perm was renamed to "Molot". In September, after the season had already started, Patriot from Hungary withdrew from the league, leaving only 39 teams to play the season.
For the sixth season, the league went through a number of changes, with 2 teams joining the league and 2 teams leaving, each for different reasons. Due to the War in Donbass, the league stated that Molodaya Gvardia would miss this season. JHC Bars (then the junior team of Ak Bars Kazan) left the league to join the Supreme Hockey League (VHL). Their place as Ak Bars Kazan's junior team would be taken by Irbis. New teams joining the league were an expansion team from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk called the Sakhalin Sharks as well as Berkuty Kubani Krasnodar from Krasnodar, who were promoted from MHL-B.
For the seventh season, the league once again went through some big changes, with both a small number of teams joining the league, but also with a huge number of teams leaving. Those teams leaving included MHC Khimik, who left the league to join the Supreme Hockey League (VHL), the junior team of EC Red Bull Salzburg, the junior team of HC Energie Karlovy Vary, Belye Tigry, Berkuty Kubani Krasnodar, Junior Kurgan, Dinamo-Shinnik and JHC Yunost (the junior team of Yunost Minsk). Meanwhile, new teams joining the league included the Russia U18 squad as well as Sarmaty from Orenburg (the junior team of Yuzhny Ural Orsk) and Dinamo-Raubichi (then the junior team of Dinamo Minsk) from Minsk, Belarus.
The first ever (and so far only) Super Cup (Russian: Суперкубок, Superkubok) took place on 30 April 2016 in Uchaly. It was the trophy awarded to the winner of the game between the winner of the Kharlamov Cup (the MHL champions) and the winner of the Regions Cup (the MHL-B champions) and was won by Loko Yaroslavl 5–1 against Gornyak Uchaly.
For the eighth season, the number of teams in the league was at 31 teams, representing 3 countries (28 from Russia, 2 from Kazakhstan and 1 from Latvia). Teams that left the league were Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk, Dinamo-Raubichi, Russia U18 and the Sakhalin Sharks. Meanwhile, the teams that joined the league were Sputnik Almetyevsk (the junior team of Neftyanik Almetyevsk), expansion club Taifun from Ussuriysk (the junior team of Admiral Vladivostok), Altay Oskemen from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan (the junior team of Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk) as well as Krylya Sovetov who were returning to the league after being inactive for five years.
While Reaktor (the junior team of Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk) dominated both the regular season and the first three rounds of the playoffs, they were not able to continue their success in the Kharlamov Cup final, with the Red Army team taking the series in a 4–0 sweep, winning their second Kharlamov Cup.
Season nine featured some minor changes with only 2 teams joining the league. Those teams were KRS Junior (the junior team of Kunlun Red Star) from Beijing, China (though they play their home games in Riga, Latvia) and returning Kapitan Stupino (which became the junior team of HC Sochi), thus bringing the number of teams in the league up to 33 once again, this time representing only 4 countries. Meanwhile, MHC MVD was renamed to MHK Dynamo.
Tour of North America 2010–11Edit
In December 2010 and January 2011, a team composed of players playing in the MHL named the Red Stars toured North America and played 5 games there with the following results:
|Date||Arena||City||Home team||Score||Visiting team|
|28 December 2010||Tate Rink||West Point, New York||Army Black Knights||4–11||MHL Red Stars|
|29 December 2010||Ingalls Rink||New Haven, Connecticut||Yale Bulldogs||5–3||MHL Red Stars|
|1 January 2011||Gale Centre||Niagara Falls, Ontario||GOJHL Golden Horseshoe Conference all-stars||4–7||MHL Red Stars|
|3 January 2011||Allman Arena||Stratford, Ontario||GOJHL Mid-Western Conference all-stars||3–11||MHL Red Stars|
|4 January 2011||Wellington and District Community Centre||Wellington, Ontario||Wellington Dukes||2–5||MHL Red Stars|
World Junior Club Cup 2011Edit
Tour of North America 2011–12Edit
As in 2010, the Red Stars (Russian: Красные Звезды, Krasnye Zvezdy), a team made of players who play in the MHL, toured North America. The opponents of the Red Stars were teams from NCAA Division I and the NAHL.
|Date||Arena||City||Home team||Score||Visiting team|
|17 December 2011||Ralph Engelstad Arena||Grand Forks, North Dakota||North Dakota Fighting Sioux||5–1||MHL Red Stars|
|19 December 2011||Runestone Community Center||Alexandria, Minnesota||Alexandria Blizzard||1–5||MHL Red Stars|
|21 December 2011||V.F.W. Sports Center||Bismarck, North Dakota||Bismarck Bobcats||2–1||MHL Red Stars|
|27 December 2011||Gutterson Fieldhouse||Burlington, Vermont||Vermont Catamounts||1–6||MHL Red Stars|
|28 December 2011||Ingalls Rink||New Haven, Connecticut||Yale Bulldogs||6–4||MHL Red Stars|
|30 December 2011||Berry Events Center||Marquette, Michigan||Northern Michigan Wildcats||3–2||MHL Red Stars|
|3 January 2012||Compton Family Ice Arena||Notre Dame, Indiana||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||2–1||MHL Red Stars|
|5 January 2012||Tsongas Center||Lowell, Massachusetts||UMass Lowell River Hawks||6–4||MHL Red Stars|
IIHF U20 Challenge Cup of Asia 2012Edit
Tour of North America 2012–13Edit
|Date||Arena||City||Home team||Score||Visiting team|
|23 December 2012||Bright Hockey Center||Allston, MA||Atlantic Junior Hockey League||2–11||MHL Red Stars|
|27 December 2012||Tate Rink||West Point, NY||Army Black Knights||2–6||MHL Red Stars|
|28 December 2012||Ingalls Rink||New Haven, CT||Yale Bulldogs||10–2||MHL Red Stars|
|30 December 2012||Harbour Station||Saint John, NB||UNB Varsity Reds||7-3||MHL Red Stars|
|31 December 2012||Aitken Centre||Fredericton, NB||UNB Varsity Reds||5–2||MHL Red Stars|
|2 January 2013||Meehan Auditorium||Providence, RI||Brown Bears||7–1||MHL Red Stars|
IIHF U20 Challenge Cup of Asia 2013Edit
The MHL Red Stars participated in the 2013 IIHF U20 Challenge Cup of Asia. The tournament was held in Khabarovsk. The Red Stars won the game against South Korea but lost against Japan, finishing second in the tournament.
Tour of North America 2013–14Edit
Game against the Merrimack Warriors cancelled due to severe weather concerns according to North American sources. Game ended 5 goals to 4 after a shootout according to Russian sources.
|Date||Arena||City||Home team||Score||Visiting team|
|23 December 2013||Tsongas Arena||Lowell, MA||Eastern Hockey League||4–5||MHL Red Stars|
|27 December 2013||Ingalls Rink||New Haven, CT||Yale Bulldogs||6–3||MHL Red Stars|
|29 December 2013||Bright Hockey Center||Allston, MA||Harvard Crimson||9–3||MHL Red Stars|
|31 December 2013||Starr Rink||Hamilton, NY||Colgate Raiders||3–2||MHL Red Stars|
|2 January 2014||Lawler Rink||North Andover, MA||Merrimack Warriors||5–4 SO||MHL Red Stars|
|3 January 2014||Lynah Rink||Ithaca, NY||Cornell Big Red||6–0||MHL Red Stars|
- "YHL Calendar September" (PDF) (in Russian). Minor Hockey League. Retrieved 16 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "MHL.KHL.RU header" (in Russian). Minor Hockey League. Retrieved 31 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Телетрансляции матчей МХЛ – уже с ноября!". KHL.ru. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "KHL Junior Draft Is Over". KHL.ru. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
- "The Future is Now". khl.ru. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- О Лиге (in Russian). mhl.khl.ru. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- The team (along with its parent club Kunlun Red Star) is based in Beijing, although its games are played in Harbin. Hockey City Arena and Yubileiny Arena in Saint Petersburg are also listed as alternate arenas. 
- Все участники Чемпионата (in Russian). Minor Hockey League. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Утвержден Календарь Чемпионата МХЛ (in Russian). Minor Hockey League. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Кубок Вызова пройдет в Уфе (in Russian). Minor Hockey League. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- «Патриот СКЕКС» не примет участие в Чемпионате МХЛ (in Russian). mhl.khl.ru. 2013-09-26.
- Press service of the Minor Hockey League (26 April 2016). Суперкубок МХЛ завершит молодежный хоккейный сезон (in Russian). Minor Hockey League website. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- Press service of the Minor Hockey League (30 April 2016). «Локо» - обладатель первого в истории Суперкубка МХЛ (in Russian). Minor Hockey League website. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- Youth Hockey League press service (October 6, 2011). "Красные Звезды" определились с наставниками (in Russian). Youth Hockey League. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- Svyatozar Ivanov (October 20, 2011). Америка готовится к приезду "Красных Звезд" (in Russian). Youth Hockey League. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- "2012 IIHF U20 Challenge Cup of Asia". iihf.com. 2012-06-01.
- "2013 IIHF U20 CHALLENGE CUP OF ASIA Khabarovsk, RUSSIA". INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Junior Hockey League press service (2 January 2014). "Red Stars VS Merrimack. 4:5 (Б)" (in Russian). Junior Hockey League website. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Junior Hockey League press service (3 January 2014). "Red Stars уступили по буллитам" (in Russian). Junior Hockey League website. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- HC Salavat Yulaev press service (2 January 2014). Не везёт в серии буллитов (in Russian). HC Salavat Yulaev website. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Junior Hockey League Press-service (1 November 2013). "MHL selects RED STARS to tour U.S." Junior Hockey League website. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- HNIB Staff (23 December 2013). "Eastern Hockey League All Stars battle Russian Red Stars". HNIB News. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Men's Ice Hockey Announces Time Change for Russian Red Stars; Now 4 p.m. Puck Drop". 13 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Cornell University Athletics Staff (3 January 2014). "Men's Hockey Routs Russian Red Stars". Cornell University Athletics. Retrieved 4 January 2014.