HC Donbass

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HC Donbass.png
Full name

Hockey Club Donbas

  • HC Kolbiko-Donetsk (2005–06)
Nickname(s) The Red & Black
Donbas Donetsk
Founded December 2005
Based in Druzhkivka (since 2015)
Donetsk (2005–14)
Arena Altair Arena
(capacity: 400)
League Ukrainian Hockey League
Team colors                    
Owner(s) Ukraine Borys Kolesnikov
GM Ukraine Aleksei Braga
Head coach Ukraine Anatoli Stepanischev
Affiliates Bilyi Bars (PHL)
Molodaya Gvardia (MHL)
Donetsk Bears (junior)
Website HCDonbas.com

Hockey Club Donbas (Ukrainian: Хокейний Клуб Донбас; Russian: ХК Донбасс, tr. Hokeinyi Klub Donbas) is a Ukrainian professional ice hockey team based in Druzhkivka, currently playing in the Ukrainian Hockey League.

HC Donbass is four times Ukrainian champion (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016).The team was a member of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) during the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons,[1] and was the sole representative from Ukraine competing at the elite international level. Due to the War in Donbass, the team did not compete in the 2014–15 KHL season.

Borys Kolesnikov, a prominent Ukrainian politician and businessman, purchased the team in 2010,[2] and from then until 2014 it was the most successful hockey club in Ukraine. The team takes its name from its geographic location in the heart of the Donets Basin (Donbas).

The club was founded in 2005 as Hockey Club Kolbiko-Donetsk and took part in the XIV Ukrainian Championship by competing in the First League. After three years of competing only in tournament play, the club returned to the Ukrainian Hockey Championship, and ascended to the Ukrainian Major League. In its fourth seasons of national competition beginning in 2008, the franchise won its first national title in 2011, before joining the Supreme Hockey League (VHL). The team also won the 2012–13 IIHF Continental Cup, becoming the first team from Ukraine to do so.[3] Following the 2010–11 season, Donbass split into two teams with their affiliate, Donbass-2, representing the organization in the Professional Hockey League of Ukraine. Donbass-2 won its first title in 2012 during the inaugural PHL season, and its second title the following season for the organization. In 2013, Bilyi Bars began acting as HC Donbass' PHL affiliate, dissolving Donbass-2.[4]

Franchise history[edit]


The Donbass Hockey Club founded as a successor to the original Donbass team formed in June 2001 in Sievierodonetsk.[5] This original team, in turn, was a spiritual successor to previous Donetsk teams KOOPERATOR (from 1990) and NORD (from 1993).[5] Players from Kharkov and Kiev were invited to the team, among them there were D. Pashinsky, D. Gnyt’ko, A. Kalitka, D. Klyuchko, O. Timchenko. The original Donbass club made its first appearance in 2001, participating in Belarus' entry division and the Major League of the Ukrainian Hockey Championship, earning bronze medals in each league's finals. However, shortly thereafter, the team would dissolve.[6] Following the team's dissolution, most former Donbass players would go on to join Khimik Sievierodonetsk of the Ukrainian Major League.[5]

Founding and competitions (2005–2009)[edit]

In December 2005 the team was re-founded by a group of local Donetsk players, then playing in Sievierodonetsk, who wanted to represent Donetsk within the league. The club was created under the name HC Kolbiko-Donetsk (Russian: Колбико-Донецк),[5] (after the team's sponsor, Kolbiko Meats),[7] and applied for participation as a professional team in the First League, a division of the annual Ukrainian Hockey Championship. A lack of artificial ice in Donetsk forced the team to practice on a lake in Yasynuvata.[6] The two-game competition took place between January 31 and February 3, 2006, and on only three weeks of practice,[6] the team still managed to top its respective division, and win the finals match against the Kharkiv Olympic Reserve Sports School (SDYuSShOR). Donbass would lose to ATEK Kiev in the following playoff, failing to earn promotion to Major League.[6] Between 2006 and 2008, First League play was cancelled, but the team did compete in a series of tournaments and re-adopted the original Donbass club name, crest, and colours.

During the autumn of 2007, the new ice arena “Leader” was built in Donetsk. The team had practice and home games there. Under the guidance of G. Kravchenko (later D. Gordyushin) children’s sports school restarted its work. This year HC Donbass took part in Ukraine Hockey Cup and took up the 5th place among 6 teams. The same year in May HC “Donbass” got the invitation to take part in “Trade Point” tournament, which was held in Dnepropetrovsk.

In 2008 the team returned to competition in the Ukrainian Hockey Championship, participating in the Eastern Division of the Ukrainian Major League; finishing 1st and leading the division in all offensive categories.[8] Donbass was able to sweep HC Verony in the qualifying round, and Ekspres Lviv due to forfeiture, but were themselves swept by HC Kharkiv 2-0.[8]

Kolesnikov ownership and the Major League (2009–2011)[edit]

Serhiy Varlamov was named to the 2012 All-Ukrainian All Star Team for his play with Donbass

In 2009 the club’s management invited Andrey Ovchinnikov (former player of Sokol Kiev) to the position of the head coach. The team finished at the 5th place in the Ukrainian championship, and the contract with Ovchinnikov wasn’t prolonged.

The XVIII Ukrainian Championship for the first time saw Donbass compete at the highest level of the nation; this time, competing in the "A" Division of the Major League against the likes of repeat national champions, Sokil Kiev. However, the rise in competition meant the team would only place 5th, and lose in the quarterfinals to Bilyi Bars.

Fortunes for the club changed in 2010 when owner and prominent Ukrainian businessman Borys Kolesnikov gained full control of the team,[2] making them the most financially secure team in the history of Ukrainian hockey.[9] The first influential addition to the club was former Sokil Kiev head coach, Aleksandr Kulikov. Under Kulikov, the team would extend a record 27-game win streak in the Ukrainian Hockey Championship. This year, Donbass was capable of sweeping HC Kharkiv, and would also in an upset victory sweep Sokil to win the national championship for the first time.[10] With the win, Donbass became the first non-Kiev-based team to win the national title and began a new era of Donetsk as the epicentre of Ukrainian hockey.[6]

The win also secured the club's entry into the 2011–12 IIHF Continental Cup, the third round of which was hosted in Donetsk. Donbass secured a berth in the Super Final, falling to the host Dragons de Rouen in the final game 5-2.[11] Vladimir Malevich of Donbass took home honors as the best defenseman of the tournament.[12]

In 2010 Boris Kolesnikov became the owner of HC Donbass. On summer the famous specialist Alexander Kulikov was invited to the club. He came with his partners from Sokol Kiev Anatoliy Dyomin and Sergey Viter from Donetsk. Just exactly under the leadership of these coach trio HC Donbass started to play in a new way. Brightly, interestingly and unpredictably, showing the record-breaking series of wins in Ukrainian championship.

Following the 2011 Ukrainian League season, Donbass applied for and was given membership to the Russian Major League. A vast majority of championship winning roster from the 2010–11 season were cut from the roster as the team rebuilt for its freshman year in the VHL. While the primary team would compete in Russia, Donbass also iced a team in the newly formed Professional Hockey League of Ukraine, Donbass-2. Like its parent club the year prior, Donbass-2 secured the second consecutive national title for the franchise, again defeating Sokil in the final.

In July 2011, Donbass trained for the upcoming season in Ontario and held an exhibition game against the Ontario Hockey League all-star team. Donbass won the fight-filled game 4–1 and was reported to have garnered overwhelming fan support from the local Ukrainian diaspora, accounting for approximately 500 of the 550 in attendance.[13]

The series of 27 won games made the club the winners of the regular season as well as in the play-off, where the team’s competitor in final was HC Sokol Kiev. Donbass won in both decisive games with a score of 1-0 and 3-2, which earned them their first title.

Supreme Hockey League (2011–12 season)[edit]

Supreme Hockey League (VHL) accepted HC Donbass to non-commercial partnership of the league on May the 31st 2011. First time in independent Ukraine history domestic club had been spending full-fledged days-long trainings abroad. Being in Canada at the training center “Tin Ranch”, HC Donbass has twice won the national team of Ontario HL, and after a month, in Donetsk, the club organized and held an international tournament “Donbass Cup”, where three KHL clubs took part.

On September 23, 2011, owner Borys Kolesnikov elevated his role to that of team president over Serhiy Shakurov, who had held the role with the club since its inception in 2006.[14] The year the club played in VHL resulted in a third place in the regular season and a semifinal loss towards Toros Neftekamsk that finally became the champions.[15]

Kontinental Hockey League (2012–2014)[edit]

On the 23rd of April, Slovakian specialist Julius Shupler became the leader of HC Donbass. In July 2012 the management of the KHL accepted HC Donbass. Because of lockout NHL-2012, Ukrainian players Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexey Ponikarovsky and Anton Babchuk replenished the club’s membership. Afterwards twice Stanley Cup winner Ruslan Fedotenko became the captain of the team.

Donbass played its first KHL game on September 6, 2012 at Slovan Bratislava, winning 4-2. Evgeny Belukhin scored the first goal in Donbass' KHL history.[16] Due to the 2012 NHL lockout, the team was able to sign Ukrainian NHLers Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Anton Babchuk during the 2012-13 season,[17] with the team's budget reaching approximately $25 million.[18] Following the season the team hosted the 2013 KHL junior draft.[19]

In January 2013, HC Donbass won the 2012–13 IIHF Continental Cup as first Ukrainian club. Within the super final in Donetsk on the 11 to 13 of January, the champions of Ukraine HC Donbass beat Metallurg Zhlobin from Belarus with a score of 1-0, Bolzano Foxes from Italy with a score of 3-0, and Dragons de Rouen from France with a score of 7-1 and got a total of 9 points. As a result of its first regular season in KHL the club got the 9th stage in the West and fetched up to play-off.

In the 2013-14 KHL season, Donbass moved from the Bobrov to the Tarasov division.[20] The Russian specialist Andrey Nazarov was in charge of Donetsk team. On the 10th of September 2013 Alexey Braga was assigned to the position of the HC Donbass GM. At the end of the regular season Donbass finished 4th in the Western Conference, and qualified to the playoffs of the Gagarin Cup for the first time. Donbass also set a KHL record for the fewest number of goals against in a regular season with 99.[21] In the first round, Donbass defeated Dinamo Riga 4 games to 3 before falling to Lev Prague in the Western Conference Semi-Finals 4 games to 2. In the second game of the series with Lev, the teams set a record for the longest game in the history of the Kontinental Hockey League. The game was won 4-3 by Donbass, and lasted for 126 minutes and 13 seconds before Evgeny Belukhin scored the winning goal.[22] Due to political events occurring in Ukraine at the time, the third and fourth games of the series, scheduled for Donetsk, were played in Bratislava. The series returned to Donetsk for Game 6, which Lev won 1-0 to finish Donbass's season. At the end of the season HC Donbass was named the 2013 Best Sports Club of Ukraine at the Heroes of Sports Year awards.[23]

On the night of May 26, 2014 Druzhba Arena was ransacked by armed men in the Donetsk People's Republic as part of the ongoing wave of violence in Ukraine.[24] The men looted the arena, stealing televisions, safety deposit boxes, equipment and a company car before destroying surveillance equipment – after which they set the arena on fire. The team's statement was issued to the public, condemning the so-called Donetsk Republic as "a real gang of Somali pirates."[25] HC Donbass initially expected the arena to be operational within 90 days and fully restored by the start of the KHL season,[26] which never happened.

Suspension of operations (2014–15)[edit]

On June 18, 2014, the KHL President Alexander Medvedev met with the leadership of Donbass to discuss the team's situation. The parties agreed that HC Donbass would take a one-year "sabbatical" from operations.[27] The team bought an equity stake in the league and, as a result, would theoretically be guaranteed a place in the competition for the 2015-16 season, although the ongoing War in Donbass combined with the league's financial situation leave the future uncertain. In order to ensure the team's ability to compete upon its return, all rosters and contracts have been frozen. Players and coaches affected by the suspension were permitted to sign one-year contracts with other clubs but otherwise remain under contract to Donbass.[28] Donbass's new home, Kalmius Arena,[29] will seat 12,800 for hockey.[30] It was initially expected to be operational by the 2014-15 season, although the project is currently on hold.[31]

Resumed operation (2015–16)[edit]

Instead of rejoining the KHL, the club and the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine (FHU) signed a contract about the participation of the team in the Ukrainian Hockey Extra League from the 2015-16 season.[32] The team now plays their home games at the Altair Arena, in Druzhkivka, 90 km from Donetsk.[15] Anatoliy Stepanischev became the head coach of the club and Evgeniy Brul’ the coach of goalkeepers. Sergey Petrov became the general manager of the team.

After pre-season training session in Svyatogorsk (Donetsk region), the team arrived to Druzhkivka for preparation prior to the Ukrainian Hockey Extra League 2015-16 season. The pre-season tournament Donbass Open Cup was organized for the 4th in the club history. Among the players in the team during the pre-season tournament, were Sergey Varlamov, Denis Kochetkov and Viktor Zaharov. Donbass won the Cup, by winning over the teams Bilyi Bars, HK Vityaz Kharkiv and HK Kremenchuk.

Prior to the 2015-16 Ukrainian Hockey Extra League season, Donbass had conducted three sparrings in Latvia, playing towards local teams HK Mogo, HK Zemgale and Kurbads, winning two out of three games. On the 26th of September the club held its first match within the scope of the national championship, which also involved another seven teams this season. Before the New Year Anatoliy Stepanichev’s team also held two unofficial games abroad in Belorussia and finished that year being in the lead of the Ukrainian championship table.

HC Donbas continued to lead in the regular season, and at the same time having renewed club record of the greatest wins. Within the scope of away game, Yunost Kharkiv was beaten with a score of 27-1. The club won the regular season, with the nearest competitor 7 points behind. The semifinal playoff series against HK Vityaz Kharkiv, Donbass completed for the minimum three games (5-2, 6-1 and 3-1). In the final of season Donetsk team had to play against the second team of the regular season – HK Generals Kiev. In the final, Donbass won in four straight games (2-1, 3-2, 2-1 and 3-1) and became champions of the year.[33]

Ice Hockey School[edit]

Children’s ice hockey and figure skating sports school was opened on the 22nd of September 2008, after Ice Sports Complex “Leader”. On the 29th of December 2011, the Ice Sports Complex Almaz was opened. The goals of the children’s ice hockey and figure skating sports school are to attract children and youth to winter sports activities, to hold their sports events and to train high performing sportsmen for different teams. On the 19th of June 2013, Donbass youth team Molodaya Gvardia was admitted into the Junior Hockey League and, starting from 2013–14 season the team plays in Junior Hockey League Championship. Due to the aggravation of the conflict in the East of Ukraine, Molodaya Gvardia went on vacation, which lasted at least for one year.

In 2014–15 season HC Donbass children’s sports school has started work in Altair ice arena (Druzhkivka). Since September 1, 2014, more than 900 children from 5 to 12 years old from Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka and Konstantinovka have been involved with the sports school. They start at the school for figure skating and ice hockey without payment. The club provided each of the young sportsmen with the necessary equipment, qualified coaching staff and comfortable buses that bring and take away children to ice arena “Altair” and back to their communities. The intake of children was going on in 2015.

In the 2015–16 season, three teams of HC Donbass children’s sports school were moved to “Terminal” ice arena base to Brovary. Such a change in the permanent training places was due to the participation of the Donbass 2003, Donbass 2004 and Donbass 2005 teams in Belarus championships and respective budget reduction for visiting the out matches of the tournament. The biggest part of Ice hockey school continuing its activity in Druzhkivka, with adding more than 300 pupils to the hockey and figure skating groups.

Team identity[edit]


The team's original colours of 2001 were blue and grey and featured a logo representing a hockey puck, with a hockey stick overlain. On November 14, 2008 the club changed their logo and team colours to the current scheme of red, black, and white. As part of this change, the team's name was changed from the Ukrainian spelling (Хокейний Клуб Донбас, Khokeinyi Klub Donbas) to Russian (Хоккейный Клуб Донбасс, Khokkeynyi Klub Donbass). The team again altered its logo in 2010, where it remains currently. The modern Donbass logos feature prominently two spoil tips, which represent the city's strong ties to the steel and coal mining industry. The change from a metallic script to white is meant to symbolize "a blank page".[34]



Affiliate honours[edit]

Farm-club HC Donbass-2:

Farm-club Bilyi Bars:


Individual honours[edit]

Ukrainian Ice Hockey Player of the Year

Slovakian Goalkeeper of the Year

Seasons and records[edit]

Season by season results[edit]

League history and results[edit]

Ukrainian Hockey Extra League Kontinental Hockey League Russian Major League Ukrainian Hockey Championship Ukrainian Hockey Championship Ukrainian Hockey Championship 2015–16 Ukrainian Hockey Extra League season 2012–13 KHL season 2012–13 KHL season

Players and personnel[edit]

Team captains[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

KHL draft picks[edit]

Player Hometown Origin Drafted from Year Round Overall Ref
D Lindholm, HampusHampus Lindholm Helsingborg  Sweden Rögle BK 2012 01 030 [53]
C Karlsson, ErikErik Karlsson Lerum  Sweden Frölunda HC 2012 02 068 [54][55]
C Morozov, EgorEgor Morozov Tolyatti  Russia HC Lada 2012 03 104 [53]0
C Ikonen, HenriHenri Ikonen Savonlinna  Finland KalPa 2012 04 131 [53]0
D Abashkin, VladimirVladimir Abashkin Izhevsk  Russia HC Metallurg Mg. 2012 05 165 [53]0
D Khalikov, RomanRoman Khalikov Oskemen  Kazakhstan Irbis Kazan 2013 01 15 [56]0
F Berezovskyy, Ulib-GlebUlib-Gleb Berezovskyy Kiev  Ukraine Mannheim U18 2013 04 115 [56]0
F Zacha, PavelPavel Zacha Brno  Czech Republic HC Bílí Tygři Liberec 2014 02 82 [57]0


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  54. ^ The KHL website incorrectly states that Miko Vainonen was selected in this position
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  57. ^ http://www.khl.ru/news/2014/05/08/223795.html

External links[edit]

Social media[edit]