Izhstal Izhevsk

Russia. What a place. 

By Dan Gartland
September 12, 2019

Most hockey teams have a totem of some sort that they award every night to the player who had the best game. No one has a trophy quite like Izhstal Izhevsk, though. 

The Russian club, which plays in the second-tier VHL, unveiled a new postgame award this week after defeating Chelmet. It’s not a hat, or a jacket, or a rock or any of the other things NHL teams pass around the dressing room. No, goalkeeper Saveli Kononov was feted for his strong performance in net by receiving an AK-47. 

Kononov stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced for Izhevsk, an assault rifle-worthy performance if I’ve ever seen one. 

The players seemed amused with the new gimmick, but are also aware of the implication

“If we play poorly, they will shoot us,” the players joked, according to Russian news service Pravda

That raises a valid question: Is the gun a replica or could you actually load it and go shoot beer cans behind the arena?

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