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Russian owners take over Helsinki Arena, Jokerit join KHL

Written By Emile on Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 2:20 AM

The Helsinki Arena will soon have new Russian owners, while its home ice hockey team will join the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Russian businessmen Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg are buying the Helsinki Arena from Finnish business magnate Harry "Hjallis" Harkimo. He will remain the principal owner of the ice hockey team Jokerit, but Russian billionaires will own some shares and have an option to buy the controlling interest. Jokerit will begin playing in the Eastern European league KHL in the 2014-15.

The sale price has not been announced.

Completed in 1997, the Helsinki Arena has hosted many major sports and cultural events. The hall, which holds more than 13,000 spectators, has been the site of three ice hockey world championships and the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest final.
Jokerit head east

Jokerit were established in 1967, becoming Helsinki’s second major team alongside arch-rivals HIFK. They have won six Finnish championships, though none in the past decade. Jokerit will still play one more season in the SM-liiga before moving to the KHL.

Twenty-one of the 28 teams playing in the KHL next season are Russian, with one each from half dozen former Soviet or Warsaw Pact republics.

Forbes magazine estimates energy mogul Timchenko’s wealth at 14.1 billion dollars and construction magnate Rotenberg’s at 1.4 billion. Both men hold dual Russian-Finnish citizenship.

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