ST. PETERSBURG, August 30 (RIA Novosti)
Canadian hockey legend Phil Esposito has told R-Sport he is in negotiations to take a job developing the nascent KHL hockey league.
Esposito, the captain of the Canadian team that won the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, is in Russia to attend the KHL season-opener on September 6, as well as last week's world junior club cup in the city of Omsk.
The 70-year-old is an enthusiast of the Russian-based league and believes it should challenge the NHL for world audiences.
It was unclear exactly what role the former Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers center would inhabit with the KHL, but asked whether he'd like to work in Russia, he replied: "I think I might."
"I'm very interested in the KHL. ... I might be able to do something. [KHL president] Alex Medvedev and I have been talking and I'm very excited about it."
Asked if he would take a job as a consultant or assistant to Medvedev, Esposito responded: "Yes, yes. I like him. He's passionate about hockey. Passionate."
He insisted it was high time the NHL was given a run for its money, comparing the league's lack of desire for competition with Ukrainian champion boxers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who are criticized in some circles for choosing sub-par opponents.
"And when you're on the top, like Klitschko, he keeps fighting guys, but he doesn't fight anybody that's too good. The NHL will play, but they don't want to play against too many guys that are too good."
The KHL was founded in 2008 with 24 teams from the former Soviet Union and has grown steadily since.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February, when he was prime minister, that he saw the KHL as "healthy competition" for the North American league.
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