An hour before the Super Final of the 8th Gazprom Neft Cup, chairman of the Tournament Organizing Committee Alexander Dybal took questions from journalists at the Omsk Arena’s press centre.
He stressed that the Tournament had this year reached new level of quality and that the simultaneous participation of 24 teams in two countries had demanded considerable efforts from the organizers to maintain the event’s traditionally high standard.
“Judging from the successful group stages in Omsk and Minsk, I think that we coped with the task,” said Alexander Dybal.
The Organizing Committee chairman also noted that the Gazprom Neft Cup continues to grow steadily in popularity. A record number of spectators lined the stands and the deciding matches were broadcast live on three TV channels, with more than 200 journalists being accredited for the Tournament.
Alexander Dybal went on to praise the high level of children’s hockey shown by Cup participants.
“Of course, there were games where one team was far stronger than their opponent, but in both groups the clubs that took the top five or six positions gave a very good account of themselves,” he said.
“And starting with the semi-finals, all the games were exciting and unpredictable. Take the final of East Group here in Omsk, where the lads played as if this was a world final in adult hockey: tactically versed, defensive and aware of the value of every scored or missed shot on goal. The 1:0 victory of the team from Kazan tells you plenty about that game! Then there was the riveting final in Minsk in which two Moscow ice hockey schools played at such high speeds that older players have trouble matching them. Many of the teams showed a very high level of play but the Super Final really does bring together the most deserving teams. I am sure the deciding game will not only be an emotional climax of this Tournament but also an unforgettable milestone in the ice hockey careers of all the boys playing today.”