On Dec. 23, the Green Derby plays in Davos, Switzerland, for an event that goes under the KHL World Games brand. One year ago, the KHL landed on a new spot on its map. The KHL World Games had its first game in the Austrian capital when on the ice of the Erste Bank Arena Slovan Bratislava clashed with CSKA and SKA. Today, KHL.ru celebrates the start of the European project.

How everything started

The new project was unveiled before the start of the eleventh KHL season. On Aug. 28, in Vienna, at a special press conference, the new signature style was introduced to the public. It was also announced that the games were organized in October and November 2018 in Vienna and Zurich. "I am convinced that after 10 successful seasons, the Kontinental Hockey League is ready to showcase its world-class hockey to discerning audiences all over the world," the KHL vice-president Georgy Kobylyansky said. "We are looking forward to coming closer to hockey lovers in Austria to show the best of this sport and inspire fans in other countries."

However, playing abroad isn't new for the KHL. The league organized games in 13 countries. Austria became the 14th one, and the ceremony for the signature style presentation was held in its heart - the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

Stars on and off the ice

The games in Vienna gathered a great resonance in Vienna, and for Slovan's fans, they were a real present. Only 65 km separate the main Austrian and Slovak cities and the fans could enjoy the game, spending only a little time to travel towards another European capital.

While on the ice world-class stars were shining - Nikita Gusev, Kirill Kaprizov, and many others, other kinds of stars enjoyed the games from the stands. The Russian consul in Vienna, Dmitry Lyubinsky, appeared at both games, and IIHF president Rene Fasel and KHL commissioner Dmitry Chernyshenko held the puck for the ceremonial first face-off before the game between SKA and Slovan.

Other than the game itself, the fans had a chance to enjoy several other shows. The match between CSKA and Slovan was opened by the Slovakian guitar virtuoso Juraj Burian. On the ice, both the Army clubs showed all their power, scoring 16 goals combined. The Muscovites scored four unanswered goals in the first period alone. In the second and third periods, CSKA didn't pull the break and ended the game with a huge 9-0 victory in Kirill Kaprizov's 200th game in the KHL.

The next day was Nikita Gusev's turn to celebrate, with his 400th game in the league. SKA started the game at a slower pace, scoring only once in the first period. However, in the second stanza, the St. Petersburg's Army scored four times and came out with a 7-0 win.

We're opening a window on Europe!

The KHL World Games received excellent reviews and feedback. Rene Fasel, the IIHF president, was delighted with the show. "The KHL World Games are a good step for the league to introduce itself to Europe. I know that fans in Switzerland follow the KHL, and I often hear people telling me how they like the level of hockey in this league."

"The KHL World Games project was a success, and we are seeing a high level of interest in Europe," the KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko added. "We played in front of a full crowd. More than 11,000 tickets were sold between the two games, and this is a great sign of appreciation. We're opening a window on Europe!"

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
KHL press office KHL press office
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Related clubs

SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
Slovan (Bratislava) Slovan (Bratislava)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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