The Kontinental hockey League offers its sincerest congratulations to all of you for this forthcoming New Year.
Over the past twelve months, we have ridden waves of emotion and excitement of the kind that can only come from our favorite sport: hockey. The year began with a World Juniors’ Final of the highest intensity, in which Russia’s youngsters fought so valiantly to keep alive hopes of a gold until the very last second.
Back in the spring, we watched the battle for the Gagarin Cup, and then we saw how thousands upon thousands of fans flocked to the victory parade in Saint Petersburg in a joyous celebration of SKA’s capturing the KHL’s most coveted trophy for the first time in the club’s history.
With the end of the 2014/15 season, we saw we had broken our attendance records, both for average audience and for percentage of arena capacity, and this is thanks to you, the fans.
We watched as Team Russia played and fought in the Czech Republic to bring home the silver medal from the World Championships.
The current Kontinental Hockey League Championship is now in full swing, and already there is one thing on which the whole spectrum of fans, pundits and players all agree: we are witnessing the most intense and unpredictable season in the history of the League. The denouement of this wonderful contest will be one of the most fascinating and intriguing episodes in the coming year. From late February to mid-April, the battle for the Gagarin Cup will rage again, and few could doubt that every second will be at least as gripping as in previous years.
Any event in any corner of the vast territory of the KHL can only acquire real value when it resonates in the hearts of fans - your hearts. It is for you that the players step onto the ice every day and struggle with all their might to achieve victory, and we are deeply grateful that every day, thousands of you come to the arenas to show your support for the players, while millions more watch the events unfold on television. It is all of us, together, who create the unique phenomenon we call hockey.
In May another momentous event awaits – the IIHF World Championship, in which Team Russia will be playing in front of their own fans in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Let us hope we will see hockey of the quality produced by one of the finest teams in the history of the game - the famous Red Machine.
We wish the best of health, happiness, success, stability and prosperity for you and for all your nearest and dearest in 2016.
Happy New Year!