KHL mulls dropping 5 teams to save costs

MOSCOW (AP) The Kontinental Hockey League is considering shrinking from 29 to 24 teams following years of financial instability.

KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko says ''optimizing the number (of clubs) will help us to deal with the issue of cost-cutting related to player earnings,'' in comments reported by state news agencies in Russia, where the KHL is based.

Chernyshenko says the league's analysis suggests 24 teams would be ''optimal.''

The KHL has long depended on cash from Russian state companies and regional governments to keep many of its teams afloat.

Croatian club Medvescak Zagreb is already due to leave the 29-team, eight-country KHL this summer. It will transfer to the Austria-based EBEL after four years in the KHL.

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