Ak Bars Kazan

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Ak Bars
Ак Барс
Ak Bars Kazan Logo.svg
Full name

HC Ak Bars 1995–present

  • Itil 1990–1995
  • SC Uritskogo 1958–1990
  • Mashstroy 1956–1958
Nickname(s) "Barses (Snow Leopards), Cats"
Founded 1956
Based in Kazan, Russia
Arena TatNeft Arena
(capacity: 10,000)
League

KHL 2008-present

Division Kharlamov
Conference Eastern
Uniform Akbars dark.pngAkbars white.png
Team colors               
Head coach Russia Valery Belov
Captain Russia Aleksey Morozov
Affiliates Neftyanik Almetievsk (VHL)
JHC Bars (MHL)
JHC Irbis (MHL-B)
Website www.ak-bars.ru

Hockey Club Ak Bars (Russian: Ак Барс, Tatar Cyrillic: Ак Барс, Latin: Aq Bars, English: Snow Leopard), also known as Ak Bars Kazan,[1] is a Russian professional ice hockey team based in Kazan, Tatarstan. They are a member of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The team's name, Ak Bars, is derived from the official symbol of Tatarstan, translated as Snow Leopard, a traditional symbol which has its origins with the Barsil, one of the Tatar tribes.

History[edit]

Originally founded as Mashstroy Kazan in 1956, the name was later changed to SC Uritskogo Kazan when it entered the Soviet Class B league in 1958. It was promoted to Soviet Class A2, where it gained promotion to the top tier of Soviet hockey. Kazan's performance was respectable, starting the season by winning 6 out of 19 games against the best of the Soviet teams before falling away in the second half of the season and was demoted.

From this point onward, SC Uritskogo Kazan established a reputation as a consistently strong team in the second tier leagues of the USSR. Renowned as a high scoring team, Kazan averaged over four goals a game throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Twice they won the USSR League (lower tiers), being named Champion of Russia in 1962 and 1976.

SC Uritskogo Kazan's most successful period occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The team was led by Russia's Sergei Stolbun; scoring ace Gennady Maslov (current coach of Ak Bars-2 Kazan), who enjoyed a short stint with the Soviet Wings and set a club record of 140 points in 76 games in 1982–83; and Ravil Shavaleev, who was regarded as one of the finest defenseman to ever come out of Tatarstan. During this period, Kazan was consistently among the top teams in the league but failed year after year to gain promotion to the top flight of Soviet hockey.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Uritskogo Kazan became Itil Kazan in 1990 and participated in the IHL. Itil was only mildly successful, narrowly avoiding relegation to the Vysshaya Liga in 1991 and 1992.

It was following the establishment of the Russian Superleague (RSL) in 1996 that the golden age of hockey in Tatarstan began. Renamed Ak Bars Kazan after the traditional symbol of the Tatars, the snow leopard. Benefiting from the resources boom in the Urals, Ak Bars began its history in fine form, finishing first in their respective divisions in 1997 and 1998 along with winning the RSL in 1998. During this period, Kazan lacked the high scoring of their predecessors but regardless continued to be a dominant team in Russian hockey, finishing runners-up in 2000 and 2002. During this period, Kazan developed players such as Denis Arkhipov and Danis Zaripov.

In the 2004–05 season, Kazan signed 11 National Hockey League players, including Russian superstars Alexei Kovalev and Ilya Kovalchuk and Canadians Vincent Lecavalier and Dany Heatley, in an attempt to celebrate Kazan's 1000th anniversary with a championship. They did not succeed, however, as a lack of continuity and chemistry saw them finish in fourth place and were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Since then, Ak Bars Kazan dominated the RSL, winning the league in 2006 on the back of a brilliant performance from Aleksey Morozov. In 2007, Kazan paced the league with 35 wins and 214 goals in 54 games before falling at the final hurdle to Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Ak Bars has been led in recent years by the dominant "ZZM" line of Sergei Zinovjev, Danis Zaripov, and Aleksey Morozov, who have established themselves as one of the most dominant lines in recent history. Combined with veterans such as Vitaly Proshkin and Vladimir Vorobiev, and imports, such as Ray Giroux, Petr Čajánek, and Jukka Hentunen, Kazan has remained one of the top teams in the league. However, they have been at times criticized for lacking consistency and relying too heavily on star players such as Morozov.[2]

Ak Bars Kazan are strong rivals with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and the neighboring team of Salavat Yulaev Ufa. However, Ak Bars was the strongest rival with Dynamo Moscow in 1990s.

Honors[edit]

Champions[edit]

1 Gagarin Cup (2): 2009, 2010
1 Russian Super League (2): 1998, 2006
1 IIHF European Champions Cup (1): 2007
1 IIHF Continental Cup (1): 2008
1 Soviet Class A2 (3): 1962, 1985, 1989 (West)
1 Soviet Class B (1): 1976

Runners-up[edit]

2 Russian Super League (3): 2000, 2002, 2007
3 Russian Super League (1): 2004
3 IIHF Continental Cup (1): 1999

Season-by-season KHL record[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; Pts = Points; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; P = Playoff

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Top Scorer Playoffs
2008–09 56 36 10 3 122 189 123 1st, Chernyshev Aleksey Morozov (71 points: 32 G, 39 A; 49 GP) Gagarin Cup Champions, 4–3 (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl)
2009–10 56 25 18 2 96 159 128 2nd, Kharlamov Aleksey Morozov (49 points: 26 G, 23 A; 50 GP) Gagarin Cup Champions, 3–4 (HC MVD)
2010–11 54 29 12 3 105 181 133 1st, Kharlamov Aleksey Morozov (56 points: 21 G, 35 A; 53 GP) Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
2011–12 54 27 19 1 92 167 136 3rd, Kharlamov Aleksey Morozov (50 points: 21 G, 29 A; 53 GP) Lost in Conference Semifinals, 4-2 (Traktor Chelyabinsk)
2012–13 52 28 10 3 104 157 112 1st, Kharlamov Aleksey Morozov (38 points: 15 G, 26 A; 51 GP) Lost in Conference Finals, 3–4 (Traktor Chelyabinsk)

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Updated July 16, 2014.[3][4]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
Canada Azevedo, JustinJustin Azevedo C R 26 2014 West Lorne, Ontario, Canada
11 Russia Bodrov, EvgenyEvgeny Bodrov C L 26 2009 Togliatti, Russian SFSR
69 Russia Burmistrov, AlexanderAlexander Burmistrov C L 26 2013 Togliatti, Russian SFSR
77 Russia Garipov, EmilEmil Garipov G L 22 2011 Kazan, Russian SFSR
26 Canada Heshka, ShaunShaun Heshka D R 28 2013 Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada
22 Russia Korneev, KonstantinKonstantin Korneev D L 30 2010 Moscow, Russian SFSR
Belarus Kostitsyn, SergeiSergei Kostitsyn LW L 27 2014 Novopolotsk, Belorussian SSR
89 Russia Lukoyanov, ArtemArtem Lukoyanov LW L 25 2011 Almetyevsk, Russian SFSR
Russia Malykhin, FedorFedor Malykhin F L 24 2014 Sverdlovsk, Russian SFSR
82 Russia Medvedev, YevgenyYevgeny Medvedev (A) D L 31 2008 Chelyabinsk, Russian SFSR
Russia Mirnov, IgorIgor Mirnov C L 29 2014 Moscow, Russian SFSR
Sweden Möller, OscarOscar Möller RW/C R 25 2014 Stockholm, Sweden
5 Russia Nikulin, IlyaIlya Nikulin (C) D L 32 2005 Moscow, Russian SFSR
Sweden Nilsson, AndersAnders Nilsson G L 24 2014 Luleå, Sweden
34 Russia Obukhov, DmitriDmitri Obukhov RW L 31 2012 Kazan, Russian SFSR
57 Russia Osipov, AlexanderAlexander Osipov D R 25 2013 Nizhny Tagil, Russian SFSR
20 Finland Pesonen, JanneJanne Pesonen (A) LW L 32 2012 Suomussalmi, Finland
90 Russia Petrov, KirillKirill Petrov RW L 24 2011 Kazan, Russian SFSR
Russia Rylov, YakovYakov Rylov D L 29 2014 Kirovo-Chepetsk, Russian SFSR
15 Russia Svitov, AlexanderAlexander Svitov (A) C L 31 2013 Omsk, Russian SFSR
55 Russia Tkachyov, VladimirVladimir Tkachyov C L 21 2010 Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine
24 Russia Tokranov, VasiliVasili Tokranov C L 24 2009 Almetyevsk, Russian SFSR
18 Russia Varnakov, MikhailMikhail Varnakov RW L 29 2013 Nizhny Novgorod, Russian SFSR
81 Czech Republic Vincour, TomášTomáš Vincour (UFA) RW R 23 2013 Brno, Czechoslovakia
33 Russia Yarullin, AlbertAlbert Yarullin D R 21 2010 Kazan, Russia
7 Russia Zakharchuk, StepanStepan Zakharchuk D L 27 2009 Amderma, Russian SFSR


NHL alumni[edit]

Head Coaches[edit]

Famous players who played for the club[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]