Rivalries in the KHL
Rivalries in the KHL come in many categories. As the league is still young, many of the rivalries have carried over from the days of the Russian Superleague, while others are new and may disappear. Some are based on geography, while others are based on team names or organization that these teams belonged to back in the Soviet Union. Not all teams have pronounced rivalries that don't change with each season - this article attempts to chronicle only those that last for multiple years.
In the European tradition, rivalries in Russia are referred to as "Derbies".
- 1 Geographic rivalries
- 2 Organizational rivalries
- 3 Divisional rivalries
- 4 Play-off rivalries
- 5 Other rivalries
- 6 References
- HC CSKA Moscow vs. HC Spartak Moscow
- HC Spartak Moscow vs. HC Dynamo Moscow
- HC Dynamo Moscow vs. HC CSKA Moscow
Every year, sports news outlets even calculate who the Moscow Champion is, based on games just between these three teams. As of the second season of the KHL (2009–10), all the Moscow teams are in one Conference, making rivalry matches more common. Due to hockey being less popular than football and other sports in Moscow, teams based there usually suffer in attendance. Capital city derbies, however, are always attended far better than other games.
- Atlant Moscow Oblast vs. Vityaz Chekhov
- Atlant Moscow Oblast vs. HC MVD (Defunct)
- Khimik Voskresensk vs. HC MVD (Defunct)
- Vityaz Chekhov vs. HC MVD (Defunct)
- Vityaz Chekhov vs. Khimik Voskresensk (Defunct)
A continuation of the general rivalry between St. Petersburg and Moscow, this rivalry encompasses SKA against any of the moscow teams, although not the teams in Moscow Oblast.
- SKA Saint Petersburg vs. HC Spartak Moscow
- SKA Saint Petersburg vs. HC Dynamo Moscow
- SKA Saint Petersburg vs. HC CSKA Moscow
Not as seriously regarded by Ak Bars as by Neftekhimik, this rivalry nonetheless is significant in that Ak Bars has been known to poach players and coaches (Vladimir Krikunov was poached just before the 2011–12 KHL season following Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's hiring by the Russia men's national ice hockey team. Ak Bars Kazan is regarded as the 'older brother' of Tatarstan hockey, and the rivalry reflect a sibling mentality.
- Traktor Chelyabinsk vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk
- Traktor Chelyabinsk vs. Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg
- Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk
- HC Sibir Novosibirsk vs. Avangard Omsk
- HC Sibir Novosibirsk vs. Metallurg Novokuznetsk
- Avangard Omsk vs. Metallurg Novokuznetsk
- Lokomotiv Yaroslavl vs. Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
- Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod vs. Ak Bars Kazan
- HC Lada Togliatti vs. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
- HC Lada Togliatti vs. Ak Bars Kazan
- HC Lada Togliatti vs. Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
The rivalry started when in their first game HC Lev's Zdeno Chára body-cheked Slovan's team captain Miroslav Šatan after which Šatan had been out of play until the end of the season. The fairness of this hit was the centre of many discussions.
Both teams in Soviet times belonged to the Army organization - (C)SKA stands for (Central'niy) Sportivniy Klub Armii, (Central) Sports Club of the Army.
Not as prominent as the Army rivalry, sometimes games between the Dynamo Sports Club teams are referred to as a rivalry. Fans also sometimes treat the inter-Dynamo games with special attention. However unlike the other two, the new incarnation of Dinamo Riga does not directly come from the organization but rather only took the identity of the meanwhile abolished Soviet era incarnation of Dinamo Riga.
- Dinamo Riga vs. HC Dinamo Minsk
- HC Dinamo Minsk vs. HC Dynamo Moscow
- HC Dynamo Moscow vs. Dinamo Riga
Dynamo Moscow and Dinamo Riga have met in three consecutive years of the KHL playoffs (if the series against HC MVD is included), with Moscow winning two series so far, and Riga only one.
Before relocating to Mytishchi, Atlant used to be known as Khimik and play in Voskresensk. After relocation, Voskresensk fielded a new team called Khimik in the Russian minor leagues. In the first season of the KHL, Khimik Voskresensk was invited to join the Russian Major League after it won the league and original invitee Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg could not fulfill its financial obligations. Not active since Khimik dropped out of the league after the first season due to financial issues (although it theoretically still holds KHL membership and could rejoin if finances allow). Most fans consider Khimik Voskresensk the true heir of Voskresensk hockey, and this rivalry was regarded as both a Moscow Oblast Derby, and an Organizational Derby.
Permanent divisions were first introduced to the KHL organizational structure in the second season, 2009-2010 (in the first season, the divisions were based on performance rather than geography, and were designed to be fluid. Starting in the second season, divisions became geographic in order to cut travel costs). As yet, notable rivalries due only to divisions have not really developed, although sports reporters always pay higher attention to games between the top two teams.
Two of the best teams from the Russian Superleague era, these two teams are still considered "Grands" and their matches are highlighted by the news when they occur.
The name of the rivalry comes from the names of the team - both refer to snow leopards. Ak Bars has played Barys in the first playoff round of the first three KHL seasons, and defeated them every year without losing a game.
Also can be referred to as the Derby of Champions, these are the first two teams to have won the Gagarin Cup. Both teams have green uniforms, are from autonomous republics, and have NHL-caliber players, making the games always a much watched and commented on affair.
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