The best-known ice-hockey trophy on the planet has paid a visit to the city in Siberia where the sport is most celebrated. The Ice-Hockey World Cup, which was won in May 2014 by the Russian national team in Minsk, was brought to Omsk for two days by the current world champion, Sergei Kalinin, who plays as a forward for Avangard hockey team. The visit was part of a tour, which brings the coveted trophy to several of Russia’s main cities.
The arrival of the reigning world champion was a major event for Omsk hockey fans, who communicated with Sergei Kalinin for several hours. Sergei Kalinin also showed off the World Cup at the Omsk Refinery (Russia’s largest oil refinery and one of the main industrial sites of Gazprom Neft) before bringing it to a Gazprom Neft filling station, which has been named after another current Avangard player, the striker Alexander Popov.
“Omsk fans are the best!” Sergei Kalinin said. “None of this would have been possible without them! The World Championship was a fantastic experience, a really great event in my life that I will always remember. My next objectives are to win the Gagarin Cup with Avangard and Olympic gold with the Russian national team! ”
— The World Championship was held thousands of kilometres away from your hometown. Did the Omsk fans support you while you were there?
“Yes, of course! I kept in touch by telephone and Internet. But I didn’t have much time for going online — I had to prepare for the crucial matches and do my best for Russia. The guys even passed on kind words from the young players at our hockey school who took part in this year’s Gazprom Neft Cup. It’s great to have such young fans following what you do — boys who could be stars of world hockey in the future. The boys didn’t quite make the top spot this year — the Avangard-2003 team was one step away from the super final. But a silver medal in East Group is a great result! They mustn’t be upset — they have victories to look forward to!”
More than 600 Omsk Refinery employees and motorists at the Alexander Popov filling station had photo opportunities with Sergei and the World Cup Trophy. This is the second visit this year by serious ice-hockey players to main assets of Gazprom Neft in and around Omsk. In April, the super-finalists of the 8th KHL International Kids Hockey Tournament Gazprom Neft Cup — young players from CSKA and Ak Bars — made the same trip. This prestigious children’s competition was won for the second year in a row by CSKA Moscow ice-hockey school.