Gazprom Neft Cup KHL Kids Hockey Tournament will take place in Omsk and Sochi in 2017. Run on the “divisional” model, teams in the Eastern Group will play at the Avangard Hockey Centre and Arena Omsk, while those in the Western Group will, for the second year running, play at the Bolshoi and Iceberg ice arenas in Sochi.
Thanks to the proactive support of the Administration of the Krasnodarsky Krai and the City of Sochi, Western Group matches in 2016 were held at the city’s main ice arenas, with the tournament’s opening ceremony and the Dinamo (Moscow) — CSKA match seeing the record-breaking attendance of 11,000 fans. The high standards of Sochi’s Olympic sports venues, together with contemporary hotel accommodation, right next to the ice arenas, as well as the assistance provided by local government agencies in managing administration and advertising campaigns, were instrumental in Sochi being chosen as the permanent location for Western Group matches.
Alexander Dybal, Chairman of the Organising Committee and member of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft, commented: “A survey of the participating teams made clear that Sochi was the undisputed leader out of all of those cities in which we had held Western Group matches. The sporting infrastructure at the Olympic city, together with very efficient support from local government agencies, confirmed our view that Sochi was the right choice for a permanent tournament location, together with Omsk. On that basis, we expect the tournament to take place across these two cities over the next few years, allowing us to concentrate our resources in Omsk and Sochi and to continue developing the competition under optimum conditions.”
The first Gazprom Neft Cup KHL Kids Hockey Tournament took place in 2007. Open to children of up to 11 years old, and run on a “divisional” or group model, it is now the most important children’s hockey tournament in Europe.
All tournament-related expenses (including team accommodation, subsistence and transportation), as well as organisational of the opening and closing ceremonies, all matches, advertising and media relations, the prize fund and tournament souvenirs, training seminars for coaches, and an excursion programme for competing teams, are met by Gazprom Neft.
The level of organisation of the Gazprom Neft Cup is unprecedented for a children’s competition: matches are referred by professional linesmen, games are played on ice arenas certified for KHL matches, and tournament action is covered by leading sports media. The ultimate trophy of the tournament (the Gazprom Neft Cup, produced by the same master craftsmen as the Gagarin Cup, the most important hockey trophy in Russia). Every year the cup is engraved with the name of the winning team, and remains in their ownership until the following tournament. Winners of the Gazprom Neft Cup since its being awarded the status of the official KHL kids’ tournament are Avangard (2010), Traktor (2011), AK Bars (2012), CSKA (2013, 2014), Dinamo (Moscow, 2015), and Lokomotiv (2016).
Match TV was the tournament’s main partner in 2016, with European Media Group Ltd, the Championat.com website and the Sport-Express newspaper information partners. Corporate partners included CCM and Honka.