MOSCOW, September 4 (R-Sport) – Hockey legend Pavel Bure will oversee the building of a new KHL franchise in Sochi after the Winter Olympics and model it on the success of the Los Angeles Kings, the ex-Vancouver Canucks forward said Wednesday.
Bure, 42, has been given a government post in charge of hockey in the southern Krasnodar Region, which includes Sochi but has never hosted a top-level pro hockey team.
“I have experience and understanding of what needs to be done,” said Bure. “I saw what was done in Los Angeles, California, where it was hard to make the Kings popular, because they had Lakers [NBA team] that were winning everything. But look at them now: the team already took the Stanley Cup and their arena is always full.”
The region has a team in the second-tier VHL - Kuban Krasnodar was founded last year and narrowly missed the playoffs in its maiden season.
Bure spent 12 seasons in the NHL, featuring in seven All-Star Games, and received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in 1992 and two Maurice Richard Trophy awards as the top goal scorer.
He also became the first Russian player whose number was retired by an NHL team when the Vancouver Canucks announced in July that his No. 10 jersey would no longer be used.
His last job in hockey was as head coach of the Russian national team at the 2006 Turin Olympics, when the team lost the bronze medal game 3-0 to the Czech Republic.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.