Anyone who has visited Bashkortostan or Tatarstan will have noticed the huge pride in local cuisine and hospitality. No surprise, then, that both teams have made this a focal point of the activities around Monday’s match-up.
For Salavat Yulaev, it’s all about the honey. Bashkir honey is highly regarded – and forms a key ingredient of Chak-Chak, the much-loved treat that inspires the trophy contested by the two teams. So it makes sense to set up a stall offering a taste of Bashkir’s sweetest produce for fans coming to Eisstadion Davos. Ancient culture also gets a look-in, with a traditional Bashkir yurt due to be set up outside the arena (weather permitting). That Chak-Chak Cup is also on display for fans looking for a unique photo-op with the trophy.
Ak Bars, meanwhile, is the current holder of that Chak-Chak Cup after winning last week’s meeting between these teams. So it makes sense for the Tatar team to be handing out the Chak-Chak itself in a separate hospitality zone set up by the club in the foyer. Girls in traditional Tatar costume will be on hand to serve the crowds, while the musical branch of the Ak Bars traveling support puts on a show.
That’s not the only musical contribution to the event, of course. Salavat Yulaev’s fans, famously have taken their drum to every arena in the KHL. Now it’s coming to Davos and supporters have the chance to give it a bang in Switzerland in the company of the visiting Ultras from Ufa.
The girls all represent the Internationaler Schlittschuhclub Davos and today they will be skating with their team’s flags ahead of the main event.
In addition, a group of 20 young hockey players will get to join the KHL stars on the ice in a guard of honor before the start of the game. The youngsters represent Davos U9s and U11s.
There’s no such thing as a ‘friendly’ game between the Green Derby rivals. But the atmosphere at the training rink should be more amicable in the build-up to the game as the HC Davos supporters club sends out a team to play visiting fans of Ak Bars.
Meanwhile, the mascots from both clubs will be playing their part in setting the mood for the big game, getting out and about around the arena to meet the fans and help make some more of those special memories.
It all adds up to a great day of hockey entertainment at a special, historic venue in the heart of the Swiss Alps. And there’s plenty more to come from Davos as game time approaches.
In the morning both teams hit the ice for the first time tasting the moment being in encouraging atmosphere of Davos.
Justin Azevedo, forward Ak Bars:
- Green Rivalry is one of the best that I’ve ever played. We are really waiting for new contest that should be fine at that rink. I hope that we could score a lot of goals. Here is big ice, a lot of space to skate and make plays. We like this trip, in the morning we notice a landscape with a snow, mountains. Where to play KHL World Games? I will pick Dubai! In Portugal I could invite the whole my family.
Dmitry Kvartalnov, head coach Ak Bars:
- I played for HC Davos at Spengler Cup long time ago. It was special atmosphere, full-packed arena, everything is breathing hockey. We hope that tonight’s game would be full of battles and character.
Nikita Soshnikov, forward Salavat Yulaev:
- It’s good to change the places. I feel the mountains at the practice, after two-three drills it was hard to breath, so we need to play short shifts tonight. It should be a special game – Davos, Green Derby.
Alexei Semyonov, defenseman Salavat Yulaev:
- It’s good idea to show our hockey in Switzerland. I wish our clubs would have more that kind of games. I played nine years ago for SKA and we won Spengler Cup, so it’s nice to return to these surroundings.