Seventh KHL International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament—Gazprom Neft Cup opening ceremony held in Omsk
The Gazprom Neft Cup, the Seventh KHL International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament, kicked off in Omsk on April 25. Chairman of the Tournament Organizational Committee and member of the Gazprom Neft Executive Board Alexander Dybal, KHL Director for the Organization and Conduct of Sporting Events Dmitry Kurbatov, and Omsk Oblast Governor Viktor Nazarov took part in the tournament’s opening ceremony.
Alexander Dybal emphasized, “The quality of organization on the level of grownup tournaments that we achieved in partnership with the KHL and the high level of interest from spectators have made the Gazprom Neft Cup the largest-scale youth hockey competition in Russia and Europe over the seven years we’ve been doing it. This year, we also expanded our partnership with major national television networks, which will help promote youth sports. By treating the Cup as one of Gazprom Neft’s priority social projects, we intend to increase the number of teams participating in the competition to 24 beginning next year, which will most likely require holding the Gazprom Neft Cup with a four-team super-final in two separate cities.”
Dmitry Kurbatov shared the plans to develop the tournament, “This year, more than twenty leading Russian and foreign youth clubs of the Kontinental Hockey League applied to take part in the tournament. The Gazprom Neft Cup has great prospects in terms of developing the level of international representation. That will be our priority task next year.”
The over 10,000 spectators who gathered on the Omsk Arena bleachers became witnesses to a multimedia show using three-dimensional laser projection. The 2012 tournament winners, the players of the Kazan Ak Bars, presented the main competition trophy, the Gazprom Neft Cup. The opening ceremony ended with a game between Ak Bars and the Omsk Arena’s home team, the Omsk Avangard. Through resolute struggle, the Avangard players won the game 4-1.
By tradition, the tournament games are held at the two central ice arenas in Omsk, the Avangard Hockey Center and the Omsk Arena, the largest ice sports arena east of the Ural Mountains. The semifinals will be held on April 27, while the games for the bronze prize and the final game for the Gazprom Neft Cup will be held on April 28. The final will be broadcast live on the KHL television network.
Through the strategic partnership between Gazprom Neft and the Kontinental Hockey League, the Gazprom Neft Cup, the KHL International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament, is now the largest youth ice hockey tournament in Russia and Europe. Tournament games are serviced by KHL professional referees, and the games take place at ice arenas certified for the games of the league’s professional ice hockey teams. The main competition trophy was made by the same craftsmen who created the Gagarin Cup . Each year, the name of the winning team is inscribed on the Cup, and then that team keeps the Cup until the next tournament. The KHL TV television network broadcasts live the opening game and final game.
In 2013, the Russia 2, Sport 1, NTV Plus, and KHL TV Russian national television networks, as well as the website Championat.com and the leading sports media corporation Sport Express became official Gazprom Neft Cup partners.
Players from sixteen youth hockey schools are taking part in the Gazprom Neft Cup, the Seventh KHL International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament, including schools from the following Russian and foreign clubs: Avangard (Omsk Oblast), Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg), Ak Bars (Kazan), Atlant (Moscow Oblast), Gazovik (Tyumen), Dinamo (Riga), Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl), Metallurg (Magnitogorsk), Neftekhimik (Nizhnekamsk), Salavat Yulayev (Ufa), Sibir (Novosibirsk), SKA (Saint Petersburg), Traktor (Chelyabinsk), CSKA (Moscow), Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk), and Yamal (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug).