KHL Medveščak Zagreb
|2015–16 KHL Medveščak season|
|Full name||Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb|
|Nickname(s)||Medvjedi (The Bears)|
|Based in||Zagreb, Croatia|
|Arena||Dom Sportova (main venue)
|Head coach||Gordie Dwyer|
KHL Medveščak Zagreb (Croatian: Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb) is a Croatian ice hockey team. It is the most successful and popular ice hockey team in Croatia. The team plays in the Bobrov Division of the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2015–16 season, their third season in the league. The team's namesake is derived from the location of its original arena in Gornji Grad – Medveščak.
- 1 History
- 2 UNICEF Partnership
- 3 Sponsors
- 4 Season-by-season record
- 5 Honours
- 6 Current roster
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The team was established in 1961, from the team SD Zagreb. In its first ten seasons in the Yugoslav Hockey League, Medveščak solidified as the second most popular team in Zagreb to football team Dinamo, playing their games in an outdoor rink in the upper-class neighbourhood of Šalata, with a draw of around 5,000 spectators a game. In 1971, the team moved into an indoor rink in Zagreb called the Dom Sportova, with the capacity to hold up to 6,400 fans. Over the first two decades of their existence, Medveščak middled in success however never won the Yugoslav championship and by the early 1980s was mired in a financial crisis to almost suffer relegation from the top league in 1985.
The following season in 1986 the club was sponsored by the Gortan Building company, owned by Zdenko Gradecki, to become the de facto owners. With much needed investment, Gradecki transformed the club and recruited heavily, leading with Russian Hall of Famer, Vyacheslav Anisin. By the late 1980s, the team became the best in the Yugoslav Ice Hockey League, winning three consecutive championships from 1989, culminating with an appearance in the 1991 IIHF European Cup in which they progressed to the second round.
Croatian Ice Hockey League (1991-present)
With the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, Gortan Building company along with a host of sponsors plunged into financial crisis and pulled out of their backing of the team. Without funding, the club lost its best players and professional status left to compete as an amateur outfit in the Croatian Ice Hockey League. However, from the late 1990s to late 2000s the team would dominate the league, winning almost every championship.
In search of more competitive play, the team also participated in the Slovenian Hockey League from 2007, finishing in second place in their inaugural season. The following season, Medvescak was by far the best team in the Slovenian league (without the best two Slovenian teams which joined Erste Bank Eishockey Liga a year earlier) during the regular season, losing only one game in regulation.
Austrian Hockey League (2009-2013)
Starting in the 2009–10 season, Medveščak once again moved up in competitive level, joining the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. In marking their moves up the professional ranks, the Bears recruited North American coach, Ted Sator from fellow EBEL team Alba Volán Székesfehérvár. With a commitment to continue to participate in the Croatian Ice Hockey League playoffs, Medveščak made their Austrian debut in front of a sellout crowd at the Dom Sportova in a 6–5 victory against Slovenian member HK Acroni Jesenice on 11 September 2009. The Bears drew over 200,000 spectators throughout the season home games and were rewarded as the last team to qualify for a position in the playoffs. In their inaugural season, they stunned top seeded Graz 99ers in the Quarterfinals to win in six games, before suffering elimination to eventual champions EC Red Bull Salzburg in the semi-finals.
On 14 and 16 September 2012, Medveščak hosted its first two home games of the 2012–13 EBEL season at the Pula Arena. The first game in a 3–2 loss to HDD Olimpija Ljubljana and the second game against the Vienna Capitals which resulted in a 4–1 win.
Kontinental Hockey League (2013-present)
On 29 April 2013, the club board announced that Medveščak would join the KHL in season 2013–14. It will lead to huge changes in both playing (almost entire squad) and coaching stuff. Team got upgraded with lots of players with NHL playing experience while Mark French became new head coach.
On 25 January 2014, Medveščak defeated Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 1-0 in Arena Zagreb and qualified for the KHL Playoffs in their very first KHL season. In first round of the playoffs, Medveščak played against later finalist Lev Poprad losing all four games.
Medveščak failed to qualify to the playoffs for the next two seasons.
In season 2014-15, Medveščak took part at the 2014 Spengler Cup, losing all three games.
On 13 January 2016, Russian fans threw two bananas on the ice after HC Spartak Moscow lost 4-1 in a KHL match at home to Medveščak Zagreb, for which the apparent target, Edwin Hedberg, played. Hedberg himself admitted he encountered it for the first time, adding that "things like this shouldn't happen but unfortunately they do", while Medveščak's head coach, Gordie Dwyer, said that he was upset with the fans' behavior, and "this obviously has no place in sport". Later on, Spartak Moscow had issued an official apology to both Medveščak and Hedberg, affirming that video cameras at Sokolniki Arena had helped identify two offenders who will now be banned from attending hockey games. The cameras also recorded the hooting from the stands during an episode with Hedberg on 35th minute of the match. The Kontinental Hockey League had fined Spartak Moscow 700,000 rubles ($9,135) for the racist incident and "seriously warned" about the future conduct of their fans, adding that "breaches linked to the incitement of racial, ethnic, or international discord are unacceptable".
On 24 August 2010, KHL Medveščak formed an official partnership with UNICEF, becoming the first and only European hockey team to cooperate with UNICEF, joining prestigious sporting clubs FC Barcelona, Manchester United F.C. and Boca Juniors from Argentina. The Bears were selected after success in its inaugural season in the EBEL, hosting more than 200,000 spectators watching live matches without a single incident, and its support for the campaign organised for emergency relief in Haiti. Under the co-operation between Medveščak and UNICEF, the Bears will actively work on the campaign to Stop Violence Among Children and will wear a UNICEF sleeve logo and change the club's blue logo color to that of UNICEF's cyan at joint events.
|Regular season record||Playoffs record|
|Erste Bank Eishockey Liga|
|Kontinental Hockey League|
|2014-15||23/28||60||17||6||5||32||147||91||Did not qualify for the Playoffs.|
|2015-16||20/28||60||19||6||9||26||144||172||Did not qualify for the Playoffs.|
|2016-17||Season to be played.||Playoff participation to be determined.|
G - games played, W - win, OPW - overtime or penalties win, OPL - overtime or penalties loss, L - loss, G+ - goals for, G- - goals against
- 1989, 1990, 1991
- 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
- 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
- Head Coach: Gordie Dwyer
- Assistant Coach: Connor Cameron
- Assistant Coach: Ivo Ratej Jr.
- Video Coach: Dylan Beston
- Goalie Coach: Alex Westlund
- Sport Manager: Aaron Fox
- "Across the pond: Pro Hockey returns to Zagreb". National Hockey League. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- "Croatian Hockey: The low-down". prohockeynews.com. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- "Croatian club Medvescak calls on well-traveled Sator". National Hockey League. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
- "KHL in racism probe after banana throwing at Spartak game". Associated Press. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
- Rogovitskiy, Dmitriy (January 15, 2016). "Spartak Moscow fined for banana-throwing incident". Reuters. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
- ""Spartak" will ban bananas thrown on the ice fan to go to the KHL". LatestNewsResource. Lenta.ru. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
- "Russian ice hockey club Spartak Moscow fined for fan racism". theguardian.com. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
- "Friendship between UNICEF and KHL Medveščak Zagreb for children". UNICEF. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "KHL Medveščak - Team". KHL Medveščak. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
- "Medvescak Zagreb team roster". www.khl.ru. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to KHL Medveščak Zagreb.|
- Official Website (Croatian) (English)
- Official Video Portal (Croatian)
- Eliteprospects profile (English)
- Sektor B – the most loyal fans of KHL Medveščak Zagreb (Croatian)