MOSCOW – The Russian Kontinental Hockey League took a break from its regular season schedule last weekend to hold its first All-Star game.
A team made up of Russian stars faced off against the top import players in the KHL in historic Red Square in Moscow. The teams were named after their best-known players: Team Yashin and Team Jagr.
Despite being the top draw, both Alexei Yashin and Czech Jaromir Jagr only made it on the score sheet with assists, Slovakian forward Marcel Hossa, who plays for Latvian club Dinamo Riga, felt right at home in the unusual environment scoring three goals for the imports. Ben Clymer, Jaroslav Kudrna, Jan Marek and Pavel Brendl scored the other goals for the Team Jagr.
Oleg Saprykin (CSKA Moscow) scored three times and Sergei Mozyakin (Atlant Mytishchi) added two markers for Team Russia. Salavat Yulayev Ufa’s Alexander Radulov scored the sixth Russian goal at 55:31 to take a 6-5 lead.
It was close to a Russian win in the heart of the Russian capital before Brendl and Hossa turned the game in the last minutes. And for once, the Red Square was not in Russian hands.
“It was a big celebration of hockey,” Jagr said at the post-game press conference. “I always wanted to play in Red Square and my dream came true.”
“Of course it was very cold but frost is not a problem for us. We men have to suffer,” Radulov said after the game.
While it might have been one of the most picturesque All-Star games in hockey history, not all fans warmed to the idea of freezing at the Red Square while it was -16°C (4°F). Reportedly only 2,500 fans appeared in the stands.
“Fans are used to more comfort,” player legend Boris Mayorov explained to Sovietsky Sport. “They prefer to follow the game in the warmth from cosy chairs.”
Saturday became a hockey day jointly organised by the KHL and the Russian Hockey Federation with hockey events for kids and veterans all over the country. In Red Square, the USSR Hockey Legends won another game, 5-4, against the KHL Friends composed of younger hockey legends and celebs from Russian Hollywood.Game action during the KHL All-Star Game. Photo: KHL