The XI Gazprom Neft Cup International KHL Kids Hockey Tournament drew to a close on 26 April in Omsk with the final game between Salavat Ulaev (East Group) and CSKA (West Group). The trophy for Europe’s biggest kids ice-hockey tournament was raised by CSKA, who won the tournament with a score of 3:0.
For the first time in the Gazprom Neft Cup’s 11-year history, participants in the tournament included 27 teams from five countries — Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia. Making their debut in the competition were the kids from the Sochi Club. In just five days of competition, 67 games were played. Nearly 600 young players took to the ice and shot 432 pucks on net. More than 7700 fans attended the deciding game at Omsk Arena.
The tournament’s games were held simultaneously in two cities, Omsk and Sochi. The West Group games were hosted at two Olympic arenas: the Bolshoy Ice Dome and the Iceberg Skating Palace. The East Group games were held at the Avangard Hockey Centre and Omsk Arena. The battles of the Gazprom Neft Cup, the largest ice-hockey competition in Europe for under-11s, attracted a great deal of interest from spectators. The opening ceremony and game between Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) and CSKA (Moscow) at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 22 April were attended by more than 7000 fans. On the same day, a game between Omsk’s Avangard and Chelyabinsk’s Traktor was watched by more than 9500 spectators.
The tournament is Gazprom Neft’s key social project in the area of children’s sport. The competition’s level of organisation meets the standard of a major European tournament. The opening games and Super Final were broadcast live on KHL TV, with Match TV returning as the tournament’s general partner.
“We’ve all witnessed a gripping and uncompromising game in which the strongest team emerged victorious. That’s exactly how the Super Final of Europe’s biggest tournament should be played. The Gazprom Neft Cup will continue to evolve from year to year, and to maintain its high standard of organisation. Our goal is to inspire our participants to work hard every day: this is the only way to reach new heights and cross new frontiers. I’m confident that participating in an event of this scale will be an important step in the ice-hockey careers of these kids, and something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives!” said Chairman of the Tournament Organising Committee and member of the Gazprom Neft Management Board Alexander Dybal.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Gazprom Neft Cup is the biggest children’s ice-hockey tournament for under-11 teams in Europe, and uses a group format. The tournament is growing in size, thanks to the children’s teams of the Kontinental Hockey League clubs. Teams from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Finland now take part in the tournament.
The Gazprom Neft Cup boasts an unprecedented level of organisation for a children’s competition: professional referees manage the games, which are played in ice arenas certified for professional KHL games, and the competition is covered by leading sports publications. The trophy itself has been made by the same craftsmen as the Gagarin Cup. Every year the name of the winning team is engraved on the Cup, and that team keeps the Cup until the next tournament. Since the Gazprom Neft Cup received its status as the official KHL Kids Hockey Tournament, winners have included Avangard (2010), Traktor (2011), Ak Bars (2012), CSKA (2013, 2014), Dynamo (Moscow) (2015), and Lokomotiv (2016).
The multimedia opening show could compete with those staged by the leading KHL clubs, and the tournament’s opening ceremony and Super Final will be shown live on KHL TV. The tournament’s main partner is Match TV; its information partners are the Avtoradio radio station and the Sport Express newspaper. The tournament is also partnered with CCM, Honka, and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation.
All costs associated with the tournament, including accommodation and meals for the players, transport, organisation of the opening and closing shows, the games, advertising and media coverage, prizes, souvenirs, training seminars for coaches and excursions for the teams are covered by Gazprom Neft.