Togliatti’s return to the KHL is a joyful event. Projects like Lada strengthen our hockey in difficult times. The revival of great hockey in regions with great traditions is a blessing for the entire industry, because Russian clubs are better than foreign ones.
The return of Lada is not just a party for one of the oldest hockey regions in Russia. And not just an important sociopolitical step. This is also a great contribution to increasing the strength of the entire national hockey system. Let’s hope Togliatti’s return starts a whole trend of expanding the KHL inland.
Hockey Russia has always been strong in its regions. It is difficult to overestimate the value of fieldwork that has been carried out over decades. Enthusiasm, original coaching staff, hockey as the meaning of life. This is how a forge that produces truly stellar players is formed. When there is a school, all the local boys dream of entering it. When there is a vertical selection system through children’s, youth, youth teams. And when all this sharpens to the top. Club playing in the Russian championship. Everyone aspires to the highest level. Landing a job in the region’s main team is an incentive for hockey players and coaches alike.
Amputate, not heal. Why the reduction of KHL?
And the end result is amazing results. Remember how many great players mentioned the same “Forge”: Bobrovsky, Orlov, Kaprizov, Telegin, Sorokin. The names of the current superstars, Olympic champions and world champions can be listed for a long time.
Lada has no less merit. In the final season, only former stars of the Togliatti team of different years worked as head coaches in the KHL. Pupils of the club of the caliber of Andronov, Panin and many others occupy the top positions in the Russian championship.
Such regions must be valued, protected and supported. The massacre with “Forge” and “Lada” was one of the worst mistakes in the history of the KHL. Close big hockey in cities with such high staff efficiency – only people far removed from sports could do this.
Killing the interior of Russian hockey, the league at the same time for many years brought out such projects as Medvescak, Slovan, Dynamo Riga. All of these clubs were real freeloaders, as 50-70 percent or more existed on the money of Russian state corporations. They should have been scrapped in 2014, when it became clear that the KHL would never again be an instrument of geopolitical expansion in Europe. It was impossible to refer to the mythical “ratings”, it was unacceptable to reproach the “Forge” and “Lada” for the lack of results. What, the same Latvians had many glorious achievements? In general, we will be silent about the “power” of the Croatian “bears” or the same “Kunlun”.
Revolutionary reform of the playoffs and the return of Lada. Results of the KHL Board of Directors
It is good that in Togliatti itself they found the strength to recover after a terrible blow. Justice sometimes triumphs – such clubs as Lada are entitled to a guaranteed place among the participants in the KHL championship.
The bad thing is that the revived Togliatti project has been subjected to unreasonable criticism since the very first days. Although it is actually a very useful team for our league.
It is clear that the club will not be able to qualify for the conference finals from the start. Obviously, it will be necessary to fill in at the expense of second-tier players, those whom the league giants are not yet ready to let into the base. But what’s wrong with that? If teams rich in personnel help Lada with hockey players, then this will be a bright example of mutual assistance in a corporate workshop. Voluntary expansion project in favor of Togliatti. After all, the league does nothing to ensure that the club, once suppressed by it, has additional recruiting opportunities.
All major transitions and trades in the off-season. KHL transfer table
And what should Lada do in such a situation? Get in touch with those who are ready to lend a hand and help revive a top-level team.
It is foolish to demand from Lada an immediate fight for the high places. A simple principle must be understood. For hockey development, it doesn’t matter who wins the national championship. Because the champion is determined every year, but he is one. And this is not to say that everyone else has worked in vain. Development is the creation of new jobs, bold training experiments and the practice of high-level matches for young people. It is then that the price of the most important capital in any sports league grows: human capital. Players progress and become stars.
If the same SKA is ready to help the people of Togliatti with personnel, then great. It would be interesting to see the same Michkov in a Lada sweater. Well, if in completely non-competitive Sochi an 18-year-old guy left almost according to the “points per game” schedule, then in the Volga there will be a better coaching staff, more systematic work. Finally, the region there is truly hockey, with traditions, which also contributes to career growth.
Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”
Nobody bothers to share the players with “Lada” the same “Ak Bars”. If Bilyaletdinov stays, then he won’t really play with the youth. And there are many promising guys in Kazan. Or take a stick without the “top” prefix. Spartak could not reveal either Chibrikov or Svechkov. Both boys want to go to North America. So save their races, give them to Togliatti before it’s too late. Moreover, Svechkov is just a student of the club.
If in Lada at least two or three players in one season can grow meat and rise, to the first links of strong teams, then this will already be a bright indicator of utility. Such projects are very necessary for the Russian championship. And there is no need for skeptical smiles and nods towards HC Sochi. If Chernomortsy managed out loud in the previous season, this does not mean that the idea itself was bad. It is that every catastrophe has a name, surname and patronymic. For managerial errors, the manager should be punished, not the organization in which he works. Therefore, any analogy between the now tenuous Sochi and Lada is inappropriate.
Let’s take a good look at the work of the revived KHL team. And let’s see how it will enrich our hockey system.