The dates and location of Europe’s most important hockey tournament for the under-11s — the 10th Gazprom Neft International KHL Kids’ Hockey Tournament — have now been announced. Taking place in Sochi and Omsk during April 19 — 24, a total 26 teams will be competing for the trophy, from Russia, Belarus, Finland, Kazakhstan and Latvia.
The Gazprom Neft Cup traditionally operates on the “divisional” model, based around “East” and “West Group” teams. “West Group” matches will be taking place in Sochi, at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and Iceberg Skating Palace Olympics venues, with “East Group” matches taking place, as in previous years, at the Arena Omsk. The Super Final, between the winners of both groups, will take place on April 24. The opening matches for both groups will be preceded by an outstanding multimedia show.
2016 will also see an extended educational programme for youth coaches, running concurrently with tournament fixtures, featuring seminars from leading Russian specialists on the psychology and methodology of youth training at hockey academies.
Alexander Dybal, member of the Gazprom Neft Management Board and Chairman of the Organising Committee, commented: “Holding the 10th anniversary Gazprom Neft Cup at Olympic arenas in Sochi will confirm our commitment to extending the geographic range of the tournament, as well as to holding the event at the most modern ice arenas. We are well aware that playing on an Olympic rink for the first time is an outstanding event in anyone’s hockey career. Given attendance levels last year we have every confidence of fans filling the stands again this time. And we will do our best to deliver an outstanding jubilee programme at the opening matches and the Super Final.”
KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko added: “I am delighted to see the Gazprom Neft Cup as a firm fixture in this year’s line-up of major hockey events in Russia. Young hockey players have everything they need here to develop, show their skills, prove their character, and achieve their first big wins. Importantly, 2016 will see three KHL youth teams making their debuts in the tournament — Khabarovsk’s Amur, Togliatti’s Lada, and Moscow’s Spartak. This further demonstrates how close collaboration between the KHL and Gazprom Neft benefits both of us. It is in our own interests to make sure as many participants in the kids’ tournament continue their professional careers in KHL clubs in the future.”
The first Gazprom Neft Cup kids’ hockey tournament was held in 2007. The competition is open to teams of under 11 years of age. It is now the most significant children’s hockey tournament in Europe, run on the “divisional” model. The underlying costs of running the tournament are covered by Gazprom Neft.
The level of organization of the Gazprom Neft Cup is unprecedented for a children’s competition: matches are officiated 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) is engraved every year with the name of the winning team: the most recent winners being Moscow’s Dynamo.
Official tournament partners include TV channels Match TV, NTV-Plus, and KHL TV, as well as the Championat.com website, the Sport-Express newspaper, and European Media Group Ltd.
The tournament website is available at www.gazprom-neft.com/hockey.