Low Global Oil Prices Threatening Kontinental Hockey League Viability!

Marc Elliott

GRINDSTONE LAKE… Well folks, politics is about the last thing I wanted to talk about this week, but there is an actual tie-in unfolding in the hockey world as I write and it is as real as a bear in a tree in downtown Duluth! However, last week’s election was as unpalatable as it can get, and I feel motivated to talk about it. I watched my first political conventions in earnest in the summer of 1968. I was in Junior High and was developing an interest in politics. The first time I got to participate and vote was in 1972. My interest has only intensified since then. I enjoy the study of the political world and how it works. Back in those days, it probably wasn’t what you could call “squeaky clean”, but by and large those involved discussed and debated issues and the major media players in this country and in the world covered these matters quite diligently.

With electronic media developing an advantage over print media over the past couple of decades, the way the game is played and covered has changed greatly and probably not for the better. At any rate, what I have just witnessed over the past 12-18 months is easily
the ugliest, most distasteful political season I have ever been witness to. It has me uneasy about the political future of this country and contemplating if we have just ceded our government over to corporate power once and for all, never to get it back again, at least in what is left of my lifetime. First off, I can’t say that I am a fan of either of the major parties candidates for the Presidency. Neither am I a fan of those parties anymore, I haven’t been for awhile now. The GOP hasn’t represented working people for a long time, if they ever did, and alas, the Democratic Party has also sold out to corporate power for campaign money. We the People do NOT have representation in the Nations capital anymore.

This is wrong on so many levels it pains me to think about it. Is it time to rethink party politics and whether or not they have outlived any usefulness they may have had at one time? It’s probably time to have that discussion. Make no mistake though, this cycle was a direct slap to the face of the American voting public. We were stuck with 4 candidates, of which only two had any real chance, and both of them were no great shakes and we went for the obvious worst choice. Sorry Trump voters, it would be hard for me to envision a more contemptible candidate. Hillary? My problem with her is that she was a distinct establishment candidate, and in my book that alone had her on my manure list. We need change and we need it now.

The Donald talked about “draining the swamp”. And just how would that occur with his fat ass plugging the drain? He IS the swamp. HRC would have only represented more of what is wrong with our entire corporatist, imperialistic, hegemonic, corrupt, dishonest, ugly, world-wide bullying piece of crap government. We desperately need to break from that and she wasn’t going to do it. Trump speaks of all of our governmental ills and acts as if he can just wave a wand and change all of it. Now that he has won the electoral college, I would love to see his face when he gets “the talk” about how the world and the government really work. It’s called rude awakening Chump. I have went on far too long, and I’m sure you are thinking I’m not masking my disappointment very well. You would be right, We the People have lost, and even the side that thinks they “won” have really lost, they are just too non-thinking to get that concept yet. And for me? I was going to be disappointed no matter the voters choice…

OK, I HEARD A world renowned oil analyst say a few years back that the United States, as the worlds biggest petro consumer exerts the most influence over the oil markets. That is believable. This same chap went on to say that if the price was over a certain level, and considered to be “high”, that the US was geopolitically trying to ding the Chinese by making them expend some of the financial largesse they have gained as being the largest producer of consumer goods to us that they have become. Conversely, in understanding the importance of oil revenues to Russia in their overall economic scheme of things, if the US drives down the price per barrel, by market manipulation or other means, it can have a catastrophic effect on Russia and even upon their local “state” governments and their ability to function. This person stated that our government, along with the CIA are basically using oil as a geopolitical and economic weapon.

This week global oil prices have pushed below $45 per barrel and it is having a drastic effect on the Soviets. Enter the KHL. Some of it’s teams are financed and either owned or are partially owned by some of Russia’s local and state governments. The net effect of the diminished oil revenue is that several teams may have to fold due to this. In short, they wouldn’t be able to honor some of the contracts they have on the books. This could create a glut of North American players looking to return home, or more Russian players looking for a new place to play. With the current NHL season well underway, I can’t see any immediate impact if this unfolds in this manner, but it would have implications down the road.

The league features 29 clubs at this time with a new team competing in China this season. The Chinese entity splits their games between Shanghai and Beijing and it’s being reported that they are drawing fewer then 1000 fans per game. I am hoping that this league can continue forward as I believe it gives an alternative to players from North America who want to play post NHL as well as giving Russian players a serious league to develop in. If it does fail, there could be less spots open for North American and Scandinavian players as Russian players gravitate here looking for NHL jobs. A potential failure could have a negative impact on the entire world of ice hockey… PEACE