KHL arena among buildings damaged in Russian meteorite strike

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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The meteorite that shook the countryside in eastern-central Russia, injuring what is estimated to be nearly 1,100 people, could also cause some problems for the KHL and its postseason.

The league announced on Friday the arena for Traktor Chelyabinsk is one of the structures that suffered damage from the 10-ton meteorite and, as a result, all events at the facility have been postponed.

According to the Russian Academy of Sciences, the meteor -- at 6.5 feet across and roughly the size of an SUV -- entered the Earth's atmosphere around 9:20 a.m. at an estimated speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered into pieces about 18-32 miles over the Ural Mountains near Cheyabinsk, a city of around 1 million situated 930 miles due east of Moscow.

(For more details on the meteorite strike, click here.)

Even though the team is on the road, a KHL playoff game is scheduled to be played there on Thursday.

Here is the full statement from the KHL:

The meteor shower which struck Chelyabinsk and its environs has also caused some disruption to the hockey season schedule. The emergency services have confirmed that the walls of the Arena Traktor were among those structures to suffer damage, and therefore large-scale events at the stadium have been postponed.

The sporting facilities will undergo an inspection by experts to assess the readiness of the arena to return to full operational use.

The results of the assessment will be made public on Monday, after which it will become clear whether the Chelyabinsk club can stage the first games of the play-offs. The knockout stages of the Gagarin Cup get underway on Wednesday, and as Traktor is already assured of a top four place in the Eastern conference, the team is due to start the play-offs with home games on the 21st and 22nd of February.

At this time, the meteor shower has not affected Traktor's schedule, as the Chelyabinsk men finish their regular season campaign with a trip on the road to Magnitogorsk on Sunday. However, three events - today's and tomorrow's Youth Hockey League games between Belye Medvedi of Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk's Stalnye Lisy and Saturday's planned opening of the Traktor's museum - have had to be postponed.

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