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Vityaz Chekhov
(Витязь Чехов)
Vityaz Chekhov(Витязь Чехов)
Division Chernyshev
Founded 2004 (1998 as Vityaz Podolsk)
History 2004-present: Vityaz Chekhov
1998-2004: Vityaz Podolsk
Home Arena Podolsk Sports Palace (5,500)
City Podolsk
Colors Red and white
General Manager Flag of Russia Alexei Zhamnov
Head Coach Flag of Canada Mike Krushelnyski
Captain Flag of Russia Dmitri Megalinsky

Vityaz Chekhov (in Russian: Витязь Чехов, Chekhov Warriors, Vityaz being an ancient Rus word meaning "valiant warrior") (founded in 1998 in Podolsk, Russia) is a professional ice hockey team of the Continental Hockey League. They play their home games at the Podolsk Ice Palace.


The club was founded in 1998 as Vityaz Podolsk. In 2000, the team moved to the neighboring city of Chekhov; however, the team kept playing under the name Vityaz Podolsk until 2004, where the renaming was finally done. The team initially played its home games at the Ice Palace Vityaz in Podolsk, the same arena HK MVD Balashikha used until 2006. Such a thing was allowed by virtue of the opening in 2004 of a new arena in Chekhov, the Ice Hockey Center 2004, that Vityaz began using. Initially, this arena had a capacity of 1,370; it was expanded in 2007-08 to 3,300.

Vityaz played at the top level of Russian hockey for the 2000-01 RSL season; it got relegated to Vysshaya Liga at the end of the season. In 2005, Vityaz won the Vysshaya Liga championship and earned a promotion back to the elite level.

Rumors of a move back to Podolsk arose in the wake of the inaugural KHL season as even with the expansion of 2007-08, Chekhov's capacity is still below the norm established by the KHL. The team indeed restarted playing their home games in Podolsk, but remained attached to Chekhov.


Kontinental Hockey League

Chekhov's debuts in the KHL were pretty bad. Vityaz registered a mere 6 wins in regulation, plus five in overtime; in counterpart for those 11 wins, the team lost 45 times (of which, 12 games were in overtime). The meager 40 points collected meant that the team finished at a dismal 23rd place out of 24, a single point ahead of the equally bad Khimik Voskresensk. Head coach Sergei Gomolyako made the mistake in October to dress one more foreign player than allowed by the rules, resulting in a match lost by forfeit. Gomolyako claimed he ignored there was such a rule, and the following week, he was fired, to be replaced by former NHL player and Vityaz head coach Mike Krushelnyski. Vityaz' fans enjoyed the return of Krushelnyski, who was had brought the team to the playoffs in 2006-07. But Chekhov's goon-full roster just couldn't bring good enough performances to repeat the feat. They however led the league in penalty minutes, some 500 minutes ahead of the second most penalized club, with players such as Nathan Perrott (137 minutes in 9 matches and not a single point), Darcy Verot (more disciplined and productive than in his first season with Vityaz, even though it still only meant 5 points and 168 minutes) and Chris Simon (league leader at 263 minutes, and club's second best scorer behind Gleb Klimenko at 27 points). The team traded away three of its six top scorers (Klimenko, Pavel Boychenko and Igor Radulov) and without the arrival of Bryan Berard (who scored 18 points in 25 games and vastly improved Chekhov's powerplay), the team might have done even worse.

But Chekhov's season was particularly darkened by the tragic death of Alexei Cherepanov, a death that occurred on its home ice and that might have been avoided had Chekhov's arena been equipped with a working defibrillator and had not the ambulance that should remain available until the end of the match not departed well before the end, resulting in much longer delays between the accident and the moment where Cherepanov arrived at the nearest hospital.

Vityaz greats

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This article uses material from the "Vityaz Chekhov" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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