It’s the first time the two leagues have come together to create a calendar that reflects the connections between them. The new format reflects the record numbers of junior players getting a chance in the KHL this season. Our young players are testing themselves against the very best, lifting their game to a new level.
Each of the 12 months has its own theme, with a striking visual concept to reflect the cultural and historical traditions found around the league. To start with, the creators drew up sketches based on the camera angles chosen from the photo sessions with the players. This was a complex task that demands great attention to detail — poses, shadows, the players’ eyelines.
The idea was brought to life by Russian photographer Pyotr Titarenko, a respected contributor to VOGUE and many other glossy magazines.
The waterfront of Helsinki forms the background to February’s scene. On the ice, under the watchful eye of a passing polar bear, four players are in action: junior prospect Alexander Kvartalnov from Irbis, plus Miro Aaltonen (SKA), Stephane Da Costa (Ak Bars) and Andrej Sustr (Kunlun).
April’s image has KHL youngster Igor Geraskin watching on as three junior players — Danil Aimuzin (Tolpar), Grigory Ponkratov (Kapitan) and Dmitry Zugan (Krasnaya Armiya) show off their skateboarding skills on a ramp in front of an apartment block.
In May, CSKA’s Konstantin Okulov shoots a puck into space in front of a rocket taking off from Baikonur. Two more youngsters, Pavel Yelizarov (Tolpar) and Nikita Yefremov (Sibirskiye Snaipery) watch on and take a selfie.
As well as the main image, each month also features a related black-and-white sketch. In May, for example, Barys captain Darren Dietz is the star. Baikonur is one of the landmarks of Kazakhstan, and Dietz himself is dressed as a cosmonaut wielding a hockey stick.
June is the time of the White Nights, so the waters of St. Petersburg are the obvious destination. And SKA’s Vasily Podkolzin is seen racing against Ak Bars veteran Danis Zaripov on a jet ski. In art, as in life, young and experienced players come together.
Petersburg in the height of summer, Barys and Baikonur — these are by no means all the connections. Each page has its own unique theme that creatively joins adult and junior hockey and links it to the history and culture of the countries of the KHL. Exploring the calendar and uncovering the messages in each month’s image is a fun test for adults and children alike.
You can order copies of this unique calendar from the KHL’s online store.