By Gary Anderson

December 27 - Delfin Sochi takes its name from the dolphins that can be seen from the shore of the Black Sea resort ©AFP/Getty ImagesRussian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko today revealeded a new ice hockey franchise will be established in Winter Olympics host city Sochi and will be known as Delfin Sochi or Sochi Dolphins.

The new team will be based at the Bolshoi Ice Dome in the Black Sea Resort, which will host the ice hockey tournament during the Olympics, due to get underway on February 7.

Delfin Sochi, which takes its name from the bottlenose dolphins that can be seen swimming close to the shore of the Black Sea city, is set to join the Russian based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), generally recognised as the strongest tournament in the world behind the National Hockey League (NHL) in North America.

"It will be called Delfin and it will play at this arena," Mutko told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.

While ice hockey is one of the most popular sports across Russia, the south of the country - where Sochi is situated - has not had a top level ice hockey team before with football tending to be the most popular sport.

Delfin Sochi is the first permanent sports team to be situated in the city and is a key part of the Games' legacy, it is claimed.

Last year, the Kuban Krasnodar franchise was set up in Sochi's home Krasnodar Region, but it competes in the Vysshaya Hockey League (VHL) which is one of the minor leagues in Russia.

The Bolshoi Ice Dome will be the new home of KHL ice hockey side Delfin Sochi ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe Bolshoi Ice Dome will be the new home of KHL ice hockey side Delfin Sochi
©AFP/Getty Images

The KHL consists of 28 teams largely made up of Russian sides and also includes teams from the Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Croatia, Slovakia, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.

The league's President, Alexander Medvedev has previously intimated that he hopes to add three more teams to the KHL for next season along with Delfin Sochi, including Jokerit from Finland and a team from Sweden and Norway.

However, the European Ice Hockey Club Competition (ECC) announced in October last year that it plans to launch a new Pan-European competition after Sochi 2014 which it hopes will feature the top ice hockey clubs from across the continent including Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Plans to include some of the top KHL clubs had been floated but as of yet no deal has been finalised.

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