Category Archives: 2018-19

Hockey Comes (Back) to Uzbekistan

Semurg Tashkent celebrate winning the inaugural Hockey Championship of Uzbekistan in early 2019. (Image Source)

This past week was a big one in the halls of the International Ice Hockey Federation, as the world hockey body admitted five new members, bringing total IIHF membership to 81 nations. The new countries are: Algeria, Colombia, Iran, Lebanon, and Uzbekistan, and it’s the fifth name on that list that I particularly want to talk about here. Uzbekistan, the Central Asian nation of 32 million inhabitants, and former constituent Republic of the USSR, has been in the hockey news a bit this summer, with the Humo Tashkent club joining Russia’s second-tier professional VHL. And now the nation is an IIHF member, which means, among other things, that it has the right to participate in World Championships. Read on, as we talk a bit about the (re-)birth of hockey in Uzbekistan!

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Women’s Hockey Update: June 28th, 2019

SKIF Nizhny Novgorod’s Karoliina Rantamäki in action against Biryusa Krasnoyarsk. (Image Source)

This June has been a bit of a quiet period for news in Russian women’s hockey, or at least it was until this week. Now, however, we have a coaching change in the Women’s Hockey League, the departure of one of the most famous players in the league’s recent history, and some other little bits and pieces as well. Read on…

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Women’s Hockey Update: June 11th, 2019

Goalmouth scramble between FSO Moscow (in maroon) and the Molnienosnye Lezviya team from Zhukov, Kaluga Oblast, during the final stage of the Anatoly Tarasov Golden Puck tournament for girls born 2005-06.  FSO won the game and the 12-team tournament, which was held last month near Volgograd, while Molnienosnye Lezviya took home the silver medal.  (Image Source)

Time to catch up with some women’s hockey news that has been kicking around in the files waiting to be written about for the past little while! Read on, for some off-season signings news, a peek ahead to the amateur league in 2019-20, and belated hat-tips to some young champions! And a reminder here that you can also check out my piece at The Ice Garden on the possibility of Women’s Hockey League expansion to China.

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KHL Attendance in 2018-19

The Gazprom Arena prepares to host SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow this past December; the game drew a record 67,770 fans. (Image Source)

The numbers are in, and have been crunched! Time, then, to take a look at the subject of fan attendance in the KHL in the season just past. KHL teams post a very wide range of attendance numbers, due in no small part to the similarly large range of arena sizes (capacities ran from 4800 seats to more than 15000 in 2018-19, and that includes only arenas in regular use). Those figures also tell some very interesting stories, happy and otherwise; read on, for a team-by-team look at fan support in the KHL in 2018-19, as well as some observations on the league’s overall performance in this area. And there’s a table!

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New Faces in the VHL

The Humo Ice Dome in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, home of incoming VHL expansion team Humo Tashkent. (Image Source)

We talked yesterday about the season-ending developments in the KHL; now it is the turn of Russia’s second-tier men’s professional league, the VHL. The VHL also formally closed its 2018-19 season last week, and among the most interesting announcements to come out of that was the news that four new teams have been added to the league. Read on, as we look at each of those new arrivals, and toss in a couple of other snippets of news as well.

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KHL Developments

KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko. (Image Source)

The KHL formally wrapped up its 2018-19 season a few days ago with its annual Awards Ceremony, and we are now officially in the land of 2019-20. But the handing-out of trophies was not the only event on the KHL calendar last week; the league also held a meeting of its teams to discuss a few matters related to the upcoming campaign as well. Read on for some talk of what came out of that meeting, and we’ll take a look at the awards ceremony as well!

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On the Podium, But…

Team Russia after collecting their bronze medals on Sunday. (Image Source)

It has been a remarkable ending to the 2019 Men’s World Championship in Slovakia! Team Finland, with no full-time NHLers on its roster, made its way past Sweden, Russia, and then Canada in the medal-round to claim an astonishing gold medal in a tournament that nobody gave them a chance to win just a couple of weeks ago. However, for Team Russia, Finland’s semifinal victims, Sunday was a more subdued day — much was expected of the Russian side, but in the end the medals that they won were bronze. Read on, for a look back at Russia’s fortunes in the medal round, and some thoughts on their tournament as a whole.

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Miles Still to Go

Russia closes out the group stage of the 2019 Men’s World Championship with a massive second-period performance against Sweden.

We are through the group stage at the 2019 Men’s World Championship, and to this point Team Russia has fully met the high expectations incurred by their very strong roster. The preliminary games have seen few grounds for complaint (not none, mind you, but few), and it is no stretch to say that the Russians have been the best group on the ice in Slovakia over the past couple of weeks. However, all that means nothing now — the medal round and its knockout games await, and the hard work is still to be done. Read on, for a quick look back at the preliminary round, and a peek ahead to the quarterfinal.

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Wrapping up the Women’s Amateur Hockey Season

Action around the Grad-1 Moscow goal as they take on Groza-1 St. Petersburg for the championship of the League of Women’s Hockey’s Amazons Division. (Image Source)

This past week saw the end of the women’s amateur hockey season in Russia, as the League of Women’s Hockey‘s over-18 division (the Amazons Division) held its championship tournament as part of the 8th All-Russian Hockey Festival in Sochi. This was the fourth year of the competition, and the first three championships had gone to Grad-1 Moscow, a team whose roster includes a number of names familiar to long-time followers of women’s international hockey. Grad-1 were there in Sochi to defend their titles — could they make it four straight? Read on, for a recap of that tournament and of the league’s under-18 championship round, which took place last month!

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Team Russia at the 2019 World Championship (Updated)

NHL scoring champion Nikita Kucherov in action for Russia this past week. (Image Source)

We sit now less than two days from the opening of the last big on-ice event of the 2018-19 hockey season: the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Championship, to be held in the Slovakian cities of Bratislava and Košice. Team Russia will be based in the former city, the nation’s capital, for the group stage, and circumstances in the NHL have gifted them one of the strongest rosters, particularly at forward, that the country has enjoyed at any recent World Championship. Read on, for a look at the group that will seek to break Team Sweden’s two-year grip on the gold medal!

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