The city of Semyonov in Nizhny Novgorod Region hosted the final day of the annual summer training camps for young hockey players, organized by the KHL Players’ Union. Over 200 young boys and girls from 20 places across Russia, Kazakhstan and even further afield took part in intensive training sessions under the guidance of some of hockey’s most experienced coaches. The venue was the city’s new Arena complex, an ultra-modern sports and fitness center built on the initiative of Valery Shantsev, Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Region.
In each of three intensive sessions the youngsters, all insured by the SOGAZ group, were able to hone and perfect their playing skills and also benefit from the priceless experience of famous players from past and present. Sharing their wisdom with the players of the future were Olympic champions Andrei Kovalenko, Vladimir Myshkin (pictured) and Dmitry Yushkevich, World Championship silver medalist Viktor Chistov, plus current KHL stars such as Ivan Kasutin, Maxim Sokolov, Maxim Potapov and Mikhail Tyulyapkin.
For the children to participate, their parents parted with a little over 20,000 rubles (approx. $620) each, which was far lower than the actual cost of staging the event. The rest of the financing was provided by the sponsors and partners of the KHL Players’ Union, and the players who gave up their time to share their experience with the children did so free of charge.
The youngsters gratefully accepted gifts of hockey equipment adorned with the logo of the players’ union, but the best thing they gained was the experience of training at one of the most modern facilities, with its state of the art ice rink, football pitch, gymnasium and treatment center.
Another highlight of the summer training camps was the arrival of the Gagarin Cup trophy. It appeared thanks to the initiative of Vladimir Fedosov, one of the victorious Dynamo Moscow coaches, during the couple of days in which he was allowed to keep the trophy. This gave the junior players the chance to see and be photographed with the Kontinental Hockey League’s ultimate prize and also to meet one of the holders.
Andrei Kovalenko, head of the KHL Players’ Union, remarked on the success of the summer training camps and noted that there were far more applications from parents than the camps could possibly accommodate. Next year the union will once again organize a series of master classes, and once again they will be conducted by professionals of the highest level.