Sometime within the next two weeks, Alexey Morozov is finally going to be able to award the Gagarin Cup. Morozov was named the president of the Kontinental Hockey League on Feb. 14, 2020, after the prior president Dmitry Chernyshenko was appointed the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
In the 14 months since he took the job, Morozov has managed a league that spans six nations and two continents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Six weeks after his appointment, the KHL shuttered and canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Since then, the 2020-21 season has powered through with the backdrop of a pandemic, and will soon crown a champion between Avangard Omsk and CSKA Moscow.
“We are missing this feeling and looking forward to giving out the Cup since last year we didn’t have this opportunity,” Morozov told The Athletic for a wide-ranging interview, with the help of a translater, between Games 1 and 2 of the Gagarin Cup on Monday. “We are looking forward to giving the Cup and having the celebrations like we can showcase in Russia.”
While the 2019-20 KHL season was canceled without a champion, the 2020-21 KHL season started on time back in September with alterations caused by the pandemic. Admiral Vladivostok went dormant for a year because of financial struggle from the pandemic, but is planning on returning to play next season according to Morozov assuming they pay back their debts to the league, while Kunlun Red Star moved for one season from Beijing to Moscow.