Contract war between KHL and NHL breaks out

A major row over transfers has erupted between the two biggest ice hockey leagues in the world. The KHL claims the NHL has reneged on an agreement not to poach players.

Canadian Joel Kwiatkowski has agreed to join the Atlanta Thrashers next season despite having already signed a two-year deal to play for SKA St Petersburg.

This is the first such precedent after the International Ice Hockey Federation introduced its new rules concerning player transfers. The move was dubbed “a non-aggression to Northern America pact” as it banned clubs in Europe from signing North American players on contract. In return, the NHL promised not to poach European players under contract.

The KHL says that breaks a gentleman’s agreement between the two leagues.

KHL president Alexander Medvedev says he’ll now call on the International Ice Hockey Federation to act.

This episode is feared to spark a tit-for-tat response from KHL clubs, and will see them snap-up NHL stars, even if they've signed deals to play in North America.