Junior Hockey League 2017-18 season closing ceremony took place in Moscow on April 27th. It was the first ever event of this kind in JHL history. Ten awards were given out. Read all you need to know about it in JHL media relations department report.
Junior Hockey League’s 9th season will be remembered by the fans for its variety of vivid events. Loko Yaroslavl won their second Kharlamov Cup in franchise history, JHL Challenge Cup presented the hockey world with new heroes, a Chinese team made its debut in the league, Krasnaya Armiya added their second Junior Club World Cup in franchise history to JHL championship title and, of course, 15 JHL alumni won Olympic gold medals as members of Team Russia. Today Junior Hockey League turns over 9th page in its history.
Season closing ceremony was held for the first time this season but it definitely won’t be the last one, especially on the eve of JHL’s milestone 10th season. Individual awards were given out to top players, head-coach, official and team staff members. Several award recipients have been known for a while, since they’re named after regular season and playoffs, while several names were announced at the ceremony, which added a certain intrigue to the event.
Final guests arrived at 7pm Moscow time and a season highlight reel video with huge JHL logo kicked off the ceremony. The hosts made their way to the stage – the event was held by popular ‘Molodyozhka’ show cast Evgeny Kulik and Sofiya Shutkina. After they greeted the guests, Junior Hockey Leauge board chairman Alexander Medvedev took the mic.
“I’m very glad that we managed to organize JHL season closing ceremony. It’s a small rehearsal before KHL 10th
season closing ceremony,” said Medvedev. “It was a great season with amazing semifinal and final series. It was great to see so many JHL games televised. We can be assured of a bright future ahead of us. I wish the 10th
season in the league’s history to be its best yet. I want to thank the players, coaches and managers. I’m certain we have many great things to look forward to.”
First nomination – top defenseman. It was won by 20-year-old Timraly Vakhrutdinov of Mamonty Yugry Khanty-Mansiysk. Noyabrsk native scored 32 points in 55 regular season games, while he also had a whopping total of plus-45. With him at the blue line, ‘the Mammoths’ finished first in the Eastern Conference. Timraly’s teammates nicknamed him Usain Bolt, since nobody can beat him in cross-country running. Actually, Timraly means translated to Russian as ‘Iron Man’! Vakhrutdinov received his award from Russian hockey legend, 3-time world champion and 3-time Stanley Cup champion Sergei Fedorov.
Contributing Junior Hockey League official website writer Daniil Yabelov was named the top journalist. Yabelov made his way to the ceremony right from U18 IIHF World Championship, which is held in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk. He received the award from TV reporter Daria Mironova.
Top-scorer award is known effectively right after the end of Junior Hockey League regular season. This time nobody could match Kuznetskie Medvedi forward Anton Ruban. The forward’s performance in his last JHL season was second to none – he led the league in goals and points but his team still missed the playoffs. Thus, Kuznetskie Medvedi followed Omskie Yastreby’s path, who had also had top-scorer and top goal-scorer in the lineup (Artyom Manukyan and Anton Kovalyov) in the previous year but missed the post-season, nevertheless.
However, the ceremony must have lifted Ruban’s spirit as he received the award from Olympic champion, 2-time world champion and 2-time Gagarin Cup champion Ilya Kovalchuk! Kovy also led KHL in scoring this season so he was an obvious choice for the honors. Aside from the award, Ruban also received a special prize from Haier company – a certificate for Haier TV set with Smart TV function.
After KHL head official Alexei Anisimov awarded Alexander Samarin as the top official of the season, it was time to announce the top goaltender. For the second consecutive season it was an SKA-1946 St. Petersburg player who received the award. After Konstantin Volkov, it was his teammate Nikita Lysenkov. Chelyabinsk native and former JHC Spartak Moscow player enjoyed a total of eight shutouts, notably blanking the opposition in his first game after being traded. Lysenkov received the award from 2018 Gagarin Cup champion Ak Bars Kazan goaltender Emil Garipov.
Loko Yaroslavl head-coach Dmitry Krasotkin was named the top coach of the season for the second time in his Junior Hockey League career. Longtime Torpedo and then Lokomotiv Yaroslavl captain, 2-time Russian Superleague champion after retiring not only successfully switched to coaching but along with Yaroslavl major junior team and his ever-present assistant Yegor Podomatsky became the most decorated coach in Junior Hockey League history, surpassing Evgeny Kornoukhov and Evgeny Koreshkov on his way to the top. Krasotkin has won two Kharlamov Cups, two JHC Challenge Cups, Junior Club World Cup, JHL Supercup and now two JHL top coach awards. Krasotkin won his second JHL Challenge Cup along with SKA-1946 St. Petersburg head-coach Mikhail Milyokhin, whom he recently beat in the final series and consequently to the award. Junior Hockey League sports director Igor Romashin gave the award to Dmitry Ivanovich, who thanked his team for their effort throughout the season.
The guests were treated to a surprise when it came to top goal-scorer award. Along with Anton Ruban one of JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg leaders Nikita Dynyak also scored 35 goals in the regular season. In the end, both players received the awards from Alexander Medvedev.
Omskie Yastreby received the awards for the best media relations department in the league as they beat Amurskie Tigry and Mamonty Yugry. The award was collected by Omskie Yastreby and HC Avangard junior hockey school media officer Maria Pirogova.
Every year dozens of players make their debut in Junior Hockey League, who graduated from junior hockey schools and signed their first professional contracts. Only a few of them can adjust themselves to the new level of play and one of them gets to be named the top rookie of the season. This year JHL managing director Alexei Morozov gave the award to Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk forward Nikita Rozhkov, who led his team in goals, participate in JHL Challenge Cup as a member of Team East and also played for Team Russia at the 2018 U18 IIHF World Championship.
Event organizers saved the best for last as per tradition. Junior Hockey League MVP award was to be given out by 2-time world champion and Gagarin Cup champion Alexander Radulov. The winner, as expected, was Anton Ruban, who led the league in regular season points and goals. He made his way to the stage for the third time. Winning as many as three individual awards in one season is a serious achievement, which is going to be difficult to beat.
JHL managing director Alexei Morozov concluded the season closing ceremony.
“Thank you all, who shared these happy moments with us,” said Morozov. “Thank you, our winners, for everything they do for junior hockey and all teams, who worфk for glory of Russian sports. Thank you, Loko, who will represent our country at traditional Junior Club World Cup, which is going to be held in Sochi. I wish everyone good luck and happy vacation. See you in milestone 10th Junior Hockey League season!”.
That was the end of the ceremony. All awards were given out and all top players’, caoches’ and other winners’ names were revealed. That concluded Junior Hockey League’s 9th season. Next season is a milestone season, which means we’ve got even more great games, beautiful goals and unforgettable emotions ahead of us.