Saturday, November 21, 2009

English-Russian Language Links Over Hockey

A couple of interesting stories today from the New York Times "SlapShot" blog on hockey - first is news that Russia's upstart professional circuit, the Kontinental Hockey League has finally launched an English-language version of its website. The KHL, which stretches across Russia and into parts of Eastern Europe, is trying to establish itself as the world's other premier professional hockey league (aside from North America's NHL, of course). An English-language website is a step towards trying to stoke interest in the KHL on the other side of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins are going in the opposite direction, starting a Russian-language show on their HD radio station. The 30-minute “NHL In Russian” (or “NXL Na Russkom” as it's called in Russian) will air once a week on the Penguins' station, be streamed live over the Internet via the Penguins and NHL websites and will be available as a podcast. The show will be hosted by a Ukrainian-born, Russian-speaking member of the Penguins front office staff.

No word on what percentage of the Penguins fans are Russian speakers, but a clue about the prospective audience for "NHL in Russian" might be in its air-time: 8:30 Tuesday mornings in Pittsburgh, which works out to 4:30 in the afternoon in Moscow. Last year's top scorer in the NHL, Russian-born Evgeni Malkin plays for the Penguins.
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