Yaroslavl team returns to Russian hockey
The ice-hockey club Yaroslavl, also known as “Lokomotiv” Yaroslavl, a Russian professional ice hockey team, returns to the Russian hockey. The team will hold its first match in the Top Hockey League after the September air crash, in which all the hockey players of the main line-up were killed. One can see the “sold out” notice in the box-office in Yaroslavl: the local stadium, which can accommodate 9,000 people, will be packed to capacity.
The decision to restore the Yaroslavl “Lokomotiv” team, in honour of all those who were killed in the air crash and also for the sake of all ice-hockey fans, as well as for the sake of Russian ice hockey, was taken immediately after the air crash. At that time many hockey stars said that they were ready to play for the Yaroslavl hockey club. The Continental Hockey League (CHL) administration was ready to make concessions: to delay the beginning of the championship and to allow the Yaroslavl club to start playing again in 2 to 3 months’ time, when the team was in good form. However, the “Lokomotiv” administration made the right decision, which was the only one under the circumstances - to miss a season in the Continental Hockey League and to form a hockey team that would be to the liking of the Yaroslavl hockey fans.
This season the Yaroslavl Club will be part of the Top Hockey League. For the first match against the “Neftekhimik” team from Almetyevsk all the 9,000 tickets were sold out in 4 hours. “This will be a significant event for our city”, a hockey reviewer with the “Sport-Express” newspaper, Mikhail Zislis, says:
"The hockey match the new team will take part in will mean much not only for the young players but also for the local residents because the September tragedy shocked everyone in Russia and other countries. And I believe that all people want the new team to be a success."
The new “Lokomotiv” team will play 22 games with the teams of the Highest Hockey League this season. The participants of the play-off series will be selected on their results. The Yaroslavl club refused to obtain a guaranteed place in the play-off series as well as a reserved place in the final series of the Continental Hockey League next season. Commenting on the situation, the club administration says: “We want no presents. We want to deserve it”.
It is somewhat premature today to speak about the results, the press- attaché of the “Lokomotiv” hockey club Vladimir Malkov says:
"We’re simply checking the young players now. The backbone of the team that will play in the Continental Hockey League next season, as it appears will be formed next summer. Of course, the demands to the hockey players will be high. Perhaps, more than one season will be needed to form the team. The hockey players should do their utmost to perfect their skill. Of course, we understand perfectly well that after the last summer’s air crash psychologically it is very difficult for the new members of the Yaroslavl team even to enter the former hockey players’ locker rooms. So let’ wish them success and let’s support them."
The Yaroslavl club administration is sure that its team will return to the Continental Hockey League next year and that it will continue its fight for highest title. The ice-hockey club Yaroslavl is a three-time champion of Russia. In the former years it always was among the annual championships’ favourites. In 2010 the Yaroslavl team made its way into the semi-finals, and last season its members won bronze medals. “Lokomotiv” Yaroslavl is a team that sets itself maximum tasks. This is how it was and this is how it will be in the future.