A small but nonetheless historic event took place last week in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, capital city of Russia’s Far Eastern Sakhalin Region. The occasion was an international children's tournament, Sakhalin Giant, organized by the Kontinental Hockey League and the Sakhalin Hockey Federation. The competition was the first ever hockey tournament to be contested by Russian and Chinese clubs, and the eventual winners were the boys from Beijing’s largest youth club, Little Wolf.
The participating teams played five games over the five days of the tournament, and the climax of the festivities came on Friday, the 6th of November, when Little Wolf achieved a convincing 4-1 victory over the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk side, Crystal, having previously suffered a 1-2 loss to the Russians in the group stage. The battle for third place was won by Transbunker-1 from Vanino, Khabarovsk Region, with a 3-0 victory over Amur from Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
Georgy Kobylyansky, KHL Vice-President, gave his view of the pioneering event: "We have witnessed the successful staging of the first ever tournament contested by teams of Russian and Chinese youngsters, and laid the foundation stone for further joint ventures at junior and adult level between the two nations. These young players displayed extraordinary mastery of the game, produced spectacular, exciting hockey and scored many beautiful goals. Congratulations to the Little Wolves from Beijing on capturing the big prize. We hope they keep the winning habit and transmit it to their adult compatriots who play this wonderful game.”