A new milestone in the history of the Gazprom Neft Cup! The current holders of this coveted trophy, the CSKA Ice Hockey School, were awarded a duplicate of the Cup to keep forever. Participants in the ceremony included the Chairman of the Tournament’s Organizing Committee, Alexander Dybal, the head coach of the CSKA-2003 team Valery Cherny, and young Army players.
“Today we began a new chapter in the annals of the Gazprom Neft Cup,” stressed Alexander Dybal. “This tradition, common to the most leading world tournaments, will henceforth be an annual event for the Gazprom Neft Cup too. I am confident that the smaller replica of the Cup, now a permanent addition to the Army Club museum, will be a worthy addition to many awards won over the years by your illustrious club.”
“This is a great honour for us,” added CSKA’s head trainer Valery Cherny. “Last season our older lads won this cup in an honest and hard-fought battle. We’ll do our best to repeat the success and make sure that this great trophy comes back to Moscow! We know it won’t be easy, since the Tournament has got a lot tougher. There are new and exciting opponents and the geographical span of the event has grown, with 24 challengers for one winning position. But we’ll do our best for our School’s colours and give good account of ourselves in this distinguished Tournament.”
Miniature copies of the Gazprom Neft Cup were awarded in Omsk to the winners of the 2011 and 2012 tournaments, Traktor and Ak Bars, respectively.
Yevgeny Nikonnikov, head trainer of Traktor-2003:
“It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to receive a copy of the Cup. I am very happy for the lads who won this victory in 2011. I remember how people at our hockey school could talk of nothing else when the team came home from the Tournament. We need to do as well this year and maintain the name of Chelyabinsk ice hockey. But it won’t be easy, as there are a lot of great teams vying for the Gazprom Neft Cup this year. Attacking is our strength, and that’s how we’ll try to win. At this age, when the children are 10 and 11, it is rather hard to play a defensive game.”