Sergey Gimaev, the outstanding Soviet ice-hockey player who went on to a distinguished career as a coach, believes that teams should already start their training programmes. According to Gimaev, who now works as a TV commentator on the Russia 2 and Sport1 channels, a properly structured training process from the autumn will be a major factor deciding the outcome of the next year’s Tournament.
“I was at the final match of the 2013 Cup in Omsk between Chelyabinsk Tractor and CSKA. Both teams fought to the finish and the trophy hung in the balance to the last minute. It was an unforgettable experience for the players. If we want the next season to be as successful, the Tournament teams need to start preparing right now for their matches in April. The number of teams has increased and there will be strong new contenders for the 8th Gazprom Neft Cup, so we can look forward to some very competitive ice-hockey. With 24 teams in the Tournament, fluke results are much less likely. So whoever puts the best training regime in place for their team will be setting the pace on the ice rinks in April 2014. At the end of the day, everyone wants to win! It’s worth remembering too that in May next year, right after the Gazprom Neft Cup, the Chizhovka-Arena in Minsk will be hosting the world’s best hockey players for the World Ice-Hockey Championship. So players in the 8th Gazprom Neft Youth Ice-Hockey Tournament will be able to check out the quality of the ice in Belarus ahead of the World Championship.”