Teams get to Omsk raring to go
Omsk is fully prepared for the kick-off of the Seventh International Youth Ice Hockey Tournament of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Gazprom Neft Cup. Today, players from all 16 participating teams made it to the hockey capital of Siberia, and after quick rest, eagerly got stuck into their first training session. The home team, Avangard Omsk, gathered at the site of the largest ice rink past the Urals, the Omsk Arena, which seats more than 10,000 spectators. At the same time, players from Ak Bars Kazan took part in the first sessions at Avangard hockey center. These are the teams that have been picked to open the biggest European Tournament Gazprom Neft Cup on April 25. Everybody will be able to enjoy the opening ceremony of the competition and the match between the “Hawks” and the “Snow Leopards” live on KHL TV.
The next to test out the Omsk ice hockey arenas shortly afterwards were the hockey players from Sibir (Novosibirsk), Yamal (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug), SKA (Saint Petersburg), Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl), Atlant (Moscow Oblast) and Dinamo (Riga). According to head coach of Yamal, Vyacheslav Chibrov, the team’s arrival was without issue, and all the guys are set for combat. “The organizers provided us with excellent facilities. The kids love everything. Everyone enjoyed their time in the ice arena, where we held a light workout. We warmed up, laughed, caught our breath, performed a series of simple exercises and played a little bit at the end to get a better feel of the Omsk ice. So everything is fine!”
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl arrived in Omsk early in the morning local time, on the first inbound flight from Moscow. However head coach Maxim Bychkov is sure that this will not prevent the guys from getting ready for combat on Thursday. “Of course, we are all a bit tired after the flight, so before training we got some good rest and a hearty breakfast. We have great living conditions; the team was placed in comfortable rooms close to the ice arena. All very cool! The training went how we planned, we tried not to overload the guys: we spent time just skating, stretching the goalkeepers and played a bit. So tomorrow we will be in good shape!”
Training sessions for the other teams will conclude in the evening. Today, the guys are offered an extensive cultural program; during which participants of the hockey forum will be able to explore the main attractions of the city.