When Kunlun Red Star played at Torpedo on Thursday, Stephanie Klein was on the bench as the team’s equipment manager. And the 28-year-old from Ontario thus entered the record books as the first female kit manager to work in the KHL. We believe she’s the first in any elite-level men’s league. After working with the KRS women’s team — the defending Russian WHL champion — Klein was the natural choice to step up when regular equipment manager Dmitry Safonov was taken ill. “Kunlun Red Star and Claire [Lui] always seem to be on the cutting edge for giving women in sport opportunities — whether it be the ability to make a living playing hockey or giving someone like myself the chance to work games in the KHL. It’s pretty amazing,” Klein said.
⚡️ That's why we call this day historic one. Wonderful Stephanie Klein joins our men's team as equipment manager to become the first female equipment manager in professional top leagues history! #RedStarHockey pic.twitter.com/rNrOHkGWAr— Kunlun Red Star (@KRSchina) November 12, 2020
When Dinamo Minsk returned to action after the international break, the Belarusian team wasted little time in making its presence felt. Away to Sibir, the Bison blasted five goals in the first 10:57 of the first period of the game, eventually picking up a 6-0 victory. That’s the fastest five-goal haul from any team in KHL history, and also Dinamo’s biggest win in this league. Impressively, two of the goals were also KHL firsts — Ilya Solovyov and Ilya Usov both potted their debut markers in the league. In the midst of all that, Sibir goalie Anton Krasotkin had a miserable time. He came off the bench with the score at 0-2, played 3:24, faced three shots and allowed three goals before Harri Sateri returned to the game.
Time to update that old kids’ song. Ak Bars is reinterpreting what a green bottle is all about. On Saturday, Nov. 14, the team took to the ice in its game with Neftekhimik wearing jerseys made out of recycled plastic bottles. The jerseys themselves might have been black, but this eco-friendly initiative was definitely great. 38 bottles were recycled to produce each jersey, highlighting how hockey can help to promote sustainability. And the environment wasn’t the only winner — Ak Bars skated to a 3-2 win in their special edition uniform.
Ak Bars wasn’t the only team focussing on the environment this week — in Sochi, Pavel Kukshtel and Dmitry Kolgotin were supporting their club’s link-up with the Sochi National Park and visiting a center dedicated to returning leopards to the wilds of Russia’s North Caucasus.
For the second game this season, Traktor Chelyabinsk potted two short-handed goals in one period. During Saturday’s game at Kunlun Red Star, the in-form Ural team shrugged off a run of minor penalties to extend its lead over the Eastern Conference’s basement team. Early in the stanza, Vyacheslav Osnovin stole the puck in center ice and set up Alexander Avtsin, then late in the frame a turnover at the Traktor end enabled Yaroslav Kosov to score a breakaway goal. Last month, Traktor managed to score two goals on the same PK during a 5-1 victory over Dinamo Riga. Anvar Gatiyatullin’s team has now scored eight times when facing a numerical disadvantage — but has a long way to go to beat Salavat Yulaev’s record-breaking tally of 18 goals on the penalty kill, set way back in KHL season #1.
Last week, Yegor Afanasyev was celebrating a successful debut for Team Russia. The 19-year-old Predators took his bow for the national team and potted a couple of goals in the Karjala Cup triumph. This week, the Tver native was at it again, making his first KHL appearance in his loan spell at CSKA and finding the net once again. The powerful winger had a goal and an assist as the Army Men stomped Sochi 7-0 and is showing every sign of proving himself in men’s hockey after two highly productive campaigns in major juniors in North America.
KHL teams have a proud tradition of supporting their local communities and this week Avtomobilist and Dynamo were among the teams giving a helping hand. When news broke on social media that one of Yekaterinburg’s hospitals needed more bottled water as it grappled with a renewed wave of coronavirus cases, the hockey club was straight on the case — 230 cases, in fact. Club mascot Avtik — suitably attired in an Avto facemask — led the delivery and posed with a placard thanking the doctors for their work.
In Moscow, Dynamo donated sticks and an autographed jersey to a charity auction raising funds for the treatment of motor neurone disease. The condition is also known as Lou Gehrig Disease after it affected the baseball legend at the end of his career.
Last week the KHL launched two programs to help preserve the integrity of the game and kick out the cheats. A new Hot Line, accessible via the KHL website, makes it easy for participants in the KHL, JHL and Women’s Hockey League to report any suspicions of wrong-doing. The system promises to be confidential and enable all concerns to be properly investigated. At the same time, the three leagues are rolling out an education program for all participants — from players and team staff to club management. This is intended to remind everyone of the rules and regulations concerning doping, gambling, match-fixing and salary cap violations — and ensure that every person associated with the league fully understands his or her responsibilities to maintain the spirit of fair competition in our sport.