Russians willing to fight to save hockey

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I feel it would be interesting for you to know how Russian hockey fans react to the world financial crisis.

"Hockey will beat the crisis!"

One can meet this slogan in the streets of the Russian hockey town of Togliatti - hometown of the Lada hockey club that has graduated quite a number of players such as Ilya Bryzgalov, Viktor Kozlov, Alexei Kovalev and others to the NHL.

While the whole world is stricken with an unprecedented financial crisis, Russia’s biggest car-manufacturing center is preoccupied by things of a different kind.

The employees of the Lada factory are about to stop the line and go on a strike. However, it was not salary cuts or tough working conditions that might cause the line to stop. The management of the factory decided to reduce 50 percent of the financial support for the hockey club, which would mean its practical death.

It is really amazing how the citizens of Togliatti are fond of hockey!

For example, the price of the tickets for the recent playoff series was 10 times higher on the black market than face value. It is also noteworthy that Vasily Koshechkin, one of the best Russian goalies, plays for the Togliatti club. Many people, who take interest in hockey, compare him to the famous Nikolai Khabibulin.

The "death" of the team would be a big loss for the whole Russian hockey.

Lada fans are determined to fight for their team and are not going to give up.

Yuri Yanchenkov, Tampa Bay Lightning scout from 2000-08