HC Vityaz youth team wins the 2019 Gazprom Neft Cup
26 April 2019 — the XIII Gazprom Neft Cup international kids’ hockey tournament has come to a close in Sochi, with HC Vityaz beating Torpedo Nizhny Novogorod 4:1 — the deciding match being held at the Bolshoy Olympic ice stadium, Sochi, in front of 7,000 spectators.
Thirty one teams took part in the 2019 Gazprom Neft Cup, from 10 countries worldwide, including Russia, Austria, Belarus, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Slovakia. Austria’s Black Wings, the Czech Republic’s Oceláři Třinec, Slovakia’s Slovan, China’s KunLun Red Star, and Germany’s KEC Die Junghaie all made their debuts this year. This expansion in participating teams’ geographic coverage has made the Gazprom Neft Cup the most important non-profit under-11s’ hockey tournament in the world. All matches were held in Sochi, at the Bolshoy and Iceberg Olympic ice arenas, with coaches being presented with statistics on each player at the end of every match.
The official Opening Ceremony took place on 23 April. A spectacular laser light show on the ice at the Bolshoy Palace of Sports was followed by the first ever “Stars of the Future” match — transmitted live on the KHL-TV channel — between representative sides chosen from teams in the tournament’s East and West Groups. The Opening Ceremony was watched by 5,000 spectators, with a 3:1 victory going to the West Group team.
Alexander Dybal, Chairman of the Organising Committee and a member of the Management Board at Gazprom Neft, commented: “We have new champions for the 2019 Gazprom Neft Cup! We congratulate HC Vityaz on their first major international title, and for winning ice hockey’s most important youth tournament! We anticipate major expansion next year, from hockey-playing countries in Europe not yet represented in the tournament. Sochi’s Olympic sports infrastructure means we can plan that sort of development while continuing to deliver the high organisational standards people have come to expect.”
The Gazprom Neft Cup was established by Gazprom Neft as a U11 children’s ice-hockey tournament in 2007. The company remains responsible for the full financing and organisation of the event. The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is the partner to the tournament.
Tournament competitors come from the junior sides of KHL club teams, with international clubs, not members of the KHL, participating on the basis of ‘one team per country’, as recommended by the appropriate national hockey federation.
All games during the XIII Gazprom Neft Cup took place at the Bolshoy and Iceberg Olympic ice arenas, between 22 and 26 April 2019. The tournament enjoys an unparalleled level of organisation for a youth tournament, with matches being held at Olympic ice arenas, matches officiated by professional judges, and the Opening and Super Final Ceremonies broadcast live on the MatchTV and KHL television channels, with events also being covered by leading Russian media. The tournament is also partnered with CCM, Honka, and the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation.
Every year the name of the winning team is engraved on the Gazprom Neft Cup, which remains with its new owners until the next tournament. Since the Gazprom Neft Cup received its status as the official KHL Kids Hockey Tournament, winners have included Avangard (2010), Traktor (2011), Ak Bars (2012), CSKA (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018), Dynamo (Moscow) (2015), and Lokomotiv (2016).