On Friday, the 15th of September, the top management of the Kontinental Hockey League attended a gathering in Moscow to discuss a range of issues, and one of the results of the meeting was a new prize named in honor of one of Russian hockey's most beloved characters.
From this season, the Sergei Gimaev award, “For Loyalty to Hockey,” will be presented every year to the player who best fits the veteran-mentor role.
In life, Sergei Gimaev was inseparable from from the game he loved, and the affection was reciprocated. On numerous occasions, various people in and around the world of hockey, including the fans, said that the memory of this devoted servant of the game must be kept alive to inspire future generations. After seeking and gaining the approval of Sergei Gimaev's nearest and dearest, the idea of the award came to fruition.
In addition to awards and trophies, the League also provides financial assistance to more than 60 Russian hockey veterans, as well as funding for children's and juniors' hockey programs, and on Friday the Board of Directors voted to continue this support. Much of the League's aid to young players is channeled via the Russian Hockey Federation, including the Vladislav Tretiak School for Young Goaltenders and the all-Russia Golden Puck tournament. The Board confirmed that such funding shall be in the region of 60m rubles ($1.05m) for the 2017-18 season.
Also on the agenda were proposed changes to the Regulations, including the introduction or toughening of financial penalties against clubs which fail to fulfill their financial and technical obligations. One of the specific problems discussed at the meeting was that of clubs delaying payment of wages to their players and coaches. The problems seen in recent years, when several clubs might begin a new season while still in debt from the previous campaign, has been all but eliminated, thanks in part to the League's determination in implementing its strategy for financial well-being. Another important issue which came under discussion was the poor quality of lighting at many arenas. To tackle this, the League is currently inspecting the facilities at all its member clubs' arenas, and fines are to be imposed on clubs which fail to make the necessary improvements.