On Thursday, 12th of April – celebrated as Cosmonauts’ Day throughout the country - at 16:15 Moscow Time the Gagarin Cup embarked on its annual journey to the cities which host the teams battling to get their hands on the coveted trophy in the final series of the KHL play-offs. This season the two cities are Omsk and Moscow, and from Friday the trophy will reside in the home city of Avangard.
A ceremony was held at the Kontinental Hockey League’s Moscow HQ to send the trophy on its journey, and this was attended by renowned cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov, an honored Hero of Russia and the USSR, accompanied by Olympic champion, world champion and Stanley Cup winner Valery Kamensky, who is a member of the KHL Board of Directors.
“This Friday in Omsk sees the start of the final series, between Avangard and Dynamo Moscow,” – said Valery Kamensky. “The two best teams of the season will battle for the most prestigious hockey trophy in all Europe. And I know how important and how much of an honor it is for any player to see his family name engraved on the Gagarin Cup. I hope the final will be an exciting one for everyone, and that the battle for the Gagarin Cup will be as fierce and uncompromising as it was in the three previous seasons.”
“We cosmonauts, just like in the days of Yury Gagarin, are known to be big hockey fans,” added Sergei Krikalyov. “Today is a big celebration for us, and for me it is wonderful that the Kontinental Hockey League teams all strive to win a trophy which bears the name of the world’s most illustrious cosmonaut. Our federal space agency, Roskosmos, and the KHL have decided that in the not-too-distant future a puck bearing the logo of the KHL will go into orbit with one of the crews of the International Space Station, and the cosmonauts will take a ceremonial shot with this puck during the opening game of the next KHL season.”
The trophy arrives in Omsk in the early hours of Friday morning. From 11am to 5pm it will go on display at the city’s Mega shopping mall, where the people of Omsk can be photographed with the trophy, and from there it makes its way to the Arena Omsk, where at 19:00 local time Avangard and Dynamo Moscow will face off in the first game of the final series for the coveted Gagarin Cup.