A meeting of the Organizational Committee for the Gazprom Neft Cup, the Seventh KHL International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament, was held on March 22. One of the chief events at the meeting was the draw for the preliminary stage, which divided tournament participants into four groups.
As the winner of the 2012 Gazprom Neft Cup, the Ak Bars ice hockey team from Kazan was placed at the head of Group A. The other teams in Group A include Avangard from Omsk Oblast, SKA from Saint Petersburg, and Yugra from Khanty-Mansiysk.
Group B will consist of the following teams: Traktor from Chelyabinsk, Salavat Yulayev from Ufa, Metallurg from Magnitogorsk, and Atlant from Moscow Oblast.
Group C will contain CSKA from Moscow, Sibir from Novosibirsk, Neftekhimik from Nizhnekamsk, and Avtomobilist from Yekaterinburg.
Group D will include Lokomotiv from Yaroslavl, Gazovik from Tyumen, Dinamo from Riga, and Yamal from Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
The tournament games will be held from April 25 to 28 at two ice arenas in Omsk, including the Avangard Youth Hockey Center and the biggest “ice palace” east of the Urals, the Omsk Arena.
The Organizational Committee also discussed preparations for the tournament’s opening ceremony, living arrangements for the athletes, live broadcasts of the opening show and final game on the KHL television network, and the technical arrangements necessary for the operations of the tournament’s new partners, including the Sport 1, Russia 2, and NTV Plus television networks.
“Our preparations for the launch of the tournament are going as planned,” said Organizational Committee Chairman Alexander Dybal. “Today the Gazprom Neft Cup is one of the greatest sporting events in Europe. During the course of a few days, the young athletes will feel like real professionals. All of the necessary conditions equal to the level of adult competitions will be created for the teams. A terrific athletic spectacle, including a colorful opening ceremony with a multimedia show, awaits tournament fans and participants alike at the Omsk Arena”.
The Gazprom Neft Cup is one of the most ambitious youth ice hockey tournaments in Europe. Its participants include teams from the youth ice hockey schools of sixteen KHL clubs in Russia and abroad. The tournament will take place in Omsk from April 25 to 28.
The Gazprom Neft Cup was made by the same craftsmen who created the Gagarin Cup. The name of the winning team is inscribed on the Cup, and then that team keeps the Cup until the next tournament.
The tournament’s opening game will match the home team, the Omsk Avangard, against the current trophy holders, the Kazan Ak Bars.