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Minsk off the mark

06.08.2011

Dinamo bounce back to win
Dinamo Minsk made a winning start to their pre-season tournament in Switzerland with a 4-3 victory over Servette Geneva. It was a superb comeback by Marek Sykora’s men: they found themselves two goals down in the opening three minutes but quickly pulled themselves together and dug out a hard-fought win, thanks to goals from Dixon, Stas, Pavlovich, and the game-winner from Sergei Drozd. At the other end, Norwegian Lars Haugen guarded the Minsk net.

Chernov to Chekhov
Vityaz have strengthened their ranks with the signing of Mikhail Chernov. The defenseman is not the typical Vityaz player, as he is not known for physical or aggressive hockey. In Mikhail’s KHL career he has had spells with Salavat Yulaev, Sibir and Spartak. Last season he played 29 games for the Novosibirk men and the Muscovites, and his rating for the season was a -1. Overall, in 103 KHL games he has incurred just 91 minutes of penalties.

Meet the players
Vityaz will also try to strengthen relations with the supporters this year. For the first time in the club’s history, the team held an open training session, and it attracted more than a hundred spectators. The fans were given the chance to be photographed with the team’s stars, collect the players’ autographs, and give their heroes advice for the coming season.

Foreign exchange
There will be at least one foreign referee officiating at KHL games during the forthcoming season, now that the League has signed a contract with Slovakia’s Vladimir Baluska, who was on duty at the last world championships. Baluska speaks good Russian, and as an official at international level he has no problems with English. He will combine roles: as well as his KHL role he will still do some refereeing in Slovakia’s Extraliga. There may yet be one more foreign arrival before the start of the campaign, and this season will also see a referee exchange program across Europe, although it not yet known which of the Russian officials will be working abroad.

Price list
Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod has announced the ticket prices for the coming campaign. Prices start at 150 rubles (about US$5), rising to 1,100 rubles ($40) for a seat in a VIP box. Season tickets are available, costing from 5,600 to 30,000 rubles, ($200 - $1,000) but these also include free admittance to matches in the MHL (youth league), the VHL (lower league) and – most importantly – they give the holders priority in the rush to buy precious tickets for the play-offs.

Back home
Slovak forward Miroslav Satan is returning home, where he will don the colors of Slovan. He spent part of last season with Dynamo Moscow, but an early injury limited him to just six matches for the Blue-and-Whites. However, the player’s agent admits Satan is waiting for offers to return to the KHL.

Quote of the day
“We want to work really hard for a month, do a lot of grueling exercise, and then start getting ready for the Championship,” Dinamo Minsk head coach Marek Sykora on the team’s training in Switzerland.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru