About the League
The first Junior Club World Cup was held in Omsk, Russia from August 30th, 2011 to September 3rd, 2011. Eight countries were represented at the tournament: Russia, Canada, USA, Sweden, Slovakia, Belarus, Czech Republic and Latvia. The games were held at Arena Omsk and Blinov SKK.
On September 3rd Roman Lyubimov hoisted the cup as Krasnaya Armiya captain, who won the first Junior Club World Cup in history just a few months after they had won Kharlamov Cup in second MHL season.
On December 1st, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland International Ice Hockey Federation committee has approved the first Junior Club World Cup in history to be held in Omsk, Russia. This Russian project was presented by MHL executive director Dmitry Efimov. It was MHL’s initiative to create a tournament for national junior club champions.
The eight teams were divided into two pools – Group A and Group B. Group A games were held at Arena Omsk, while Group B games were played at Blinov SKK. Krasnaya Armiya (Moscow, Russia), Tatranski Vlci (Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia), HK Riga (Riga, Latvia) and Team EJNL (USA) played in Group A, while HC Energie (Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), Malmo RedHawks (Malmo, Sweden), Fort McMurray Oil Barons (Fort McMurray, AB, Canada) and Dinamo-Shinnik (Bobruysk, Belarus) competed in Group B.
HK Riga goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis was the poster-boy of the Junior Club World Cup. Last season former HK Riga netminder made it to Stanley Cup Semifinals with Tampa Bay Lightning, losing in seven games to future champions Pittsburgh Penguins.
Opening ceremony of the tournament was held on August 30th right before the game between Krasnaya Armiya and Tatransky Vlci. The fans were treated to a flamboyant light show and a video about the first Junior Club World Cup in history. Russian team won the game as they edged ‘the wolves’ 4-3. The games went on for three days and in the end it was Energie from Czech Republic and Krasnaya Armiya who made it to the final. The final game of the 2011 Junior Club World Cup ended with a blowout as Krasnaya Armiya won 7-2.
Roman Lyubimov was named the best forward of the tournament, his teammate Andrey Sergeyev was named the top defenseman, while HK Riga’s Kristers Gudlevskis was named the top goaltender. HK Riga’s forward Miks Indrasis led the tournament in scoring.
In-between games the teams had time for a few excursions. Foreign teams went to the fortress on Irtysh river, visited Uspensky cathedral, went to the statue of Lyuba and locksmith Stepanych monument, went through Tarskiye Gate and made a wish.
Local fans cheered not only for the Russian team but also had a great pleasure visiting Belarus Dinamo-Shinnik games. The final game was sold out and the atmosphere at the rink that night was electric more than ever – the fans did the Mexican wave and cheerfully chanted ‘Go, Russia, go!’. Russia, Canada and Belarus game attracted the most fans at the tournament. According to official game reports, 44,242 fans attended the games.
A lot of VIP hockey guests attended the 2011 Junior Club World Cup among which were KHL president and MHL board chairman Alexander Medvedev, FHR president Alexander Tretiak, KHL board chairman Vyacheslav Fetisov and official IIHF delegate Ernest Aljancic. World-famous coach and MHL board member Vladimir Yurzinov held a traditional coaching seminar and also visited a kid hospital.
Junior Club World Cup games were televised on five different networks. Rossiya-2 broadcasted every Krasnaya Armiya games. KHL-TV, LTV (Latvia), STV (Slovakia) and Channel 12 (Omsk Region) also broadcasted some of the games of this prestigious tournament.
Krasnaya Armiya scored the most goals at the tournament (20), while USA team was tied with HK Riga with 12.
Local government helped greatly in organizing the tournament. Omsk Region governor Leonid Polezhayev said many times that hosting such a grand international competition is prestigious and honorable for Omsk.