Hockey Club Vityaz (ХК Витязь, English: HC Knight) is a professional ice hockey team based in Podolsk, Moscow Oblast, Russia. They are members of the Bobrov Division of the Kontinental Hockey League. In the first few seasons of the KHL, the team was widely known for playing a tough and physical North American-influenced style of hockey.
|City||Podolsk, Moscow Oblast|
|Home arena||Podolsk Hero Arena|
|General manager||Igor Varitskiy|
|Head coach||Mikhail Kravets|
|Affiliate(s)||HC Ryazan (VHL)|
Russkie Vityazi (MHL)
|Hockey Club Vityaz Podolsk|
Hockey Club Vityaz Chekhov
The club was founded in 1996 in 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 HC MVD 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 season; it got relegated to Vysshaya Liga at the end of the season. In 2005, Vityaz made to the Vysshaya Liga final losing the championship to HC MVD 4 games to 1 but 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, due to Chekhov's capacity being below the KHL league standards. The team restarted playing their home games in Podolsk, but remained attached to Chekhov. For the 2013–14 KHL season, the team moved back to Podolsk.
Kontinental Hockey LeagueEdit
Chekhov's debuts in the KHL were pretty bad. Vityaz registered a mere 6 wins in regulation, plus 5 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, which general manager Alexei Zhamnov wishes to shape after the 1990s Chicago Blackhawks for whom he played, 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.
Death of Alexei CherepanovEdit
But Chekhov's season was particularly darkened by the death of Alexei Cherepanov in October 2008, a death occurred on its home ice and that might have been avoided had Chekhov's arena been equipped with a working defibrillator and the ambulance that is required to 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.
Mass brawl in ChekhovEdit
2009–10 felt like déja-vu for Chekhov. After almost being thrown out of the league due to its finances in August (it needed to find 300 million of rubles, which it did), the Knights started the season with two wins and temporarily led the league. Things didn't last however as the team finished 23rd out of 24 teams with only 13 regular-season wins (plus 3 in overtime and 2 in the shootouts—an improvement from the previous year), 54 points and, once again, a colossal amount of penalty minutes: 1522, ahead and by far every other team in the league. Vadim Berdnikov, Gleb Klimenko (who came back from Kazan) and Chris Simon led the offence with respectively 33, 27 and 25 points. Darcy Verot, on the other hand, led the team in penalty minutes with 376 in 34 matches.
Once again, an incident between Vityaz and Avangard marked the season. On January 9, 2010, the game between Vityaz and Avangard was stopped after 3 minutes and 39 seconds when a bench-clearing and penalty-box-clearing brawl broke out. Darcy Verot had instigated the brawl after three minutes of play when he shot the puck at an Avangard player. A mass brawl quickly followed, which the referees could deal with. However, as soon as the game was resumed, fighting resumed as well and both benches cleared to join the fight. The game was quickly getting out of hand and the officials decided it was better to cancel the whole game. Little else could be done, as a whopping total of 707 penalty minutes had been incurred – a new world record – and a total of 33 players on both teams have been ejected from the game, as well as both head coaches. Only four players avoided being ejected. The KHL imposed a total of 5.7 million rubles (about US $191,000) fines, including 150,000 rubles fines to Vityaz's Darcy Verot and Brandon Sugden and Avangard's Alexander Svitov and Dmitry Vlasenkov. Additionally, Verot, Sugden, Vlasenkov and four other Vityaz players received one-game suspensions. Additionally, this game became the first in the league history where both teams lost the game, as the league declared it would be a 5–0 loss for both Avangard and Vityaz. No team earned points for this match. It was the first time Avangard visited Chekhov since Cherepanov's death.
Season-by-season KHL recordEdit
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime/Shootout Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
|2008–09||56||7||5||32||12||43||137||226||6th, Chernyshev||Gleb Klimenko (30 points: 19 G, 11 A; 39 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2009–10||56||13||5||33||5||54||142||216||6th, Tarasov||Vadim Berdnikov (33 points: 9 G, 24 A; 47 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2010–11||54||13||4||32||5||52||119||178||6th, Tarasov||Vadim Berdnikov (29 points: 12 G, 17 A; 53 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2011–12||54||10||6||36||2||44||108||193||6th, Tarasov||Mikhail Anisin (29 points: 16 G, 13 A; 38 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2012–13||52||11||7||26||8||55||119||151||6th, Bobrov||Alexander Korolyuk (29 points: 15 G, 14 A; 41 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2013–14||54||12||6||26||10||58||110||147||7th, Tarasov||Maxim Afinogenov (26 points: 12 G, 14 A; 53 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2014–15||60||20||6||28||6||78||152||186||7th, Tarasov||Mario Kempe (30 points: 13 G, 19 A; 54 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2015–16||60||17||6||32||3||70||129||166||6th, Tarasov||Maxim Afinogenov (28 points: 15 G, 13 A; 56 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2016–17||60||26||7||22||5||97||162||158||5th, Tarasov||Alexei Kopeikin (51 points: 21 G, 30 A; 60 GP)||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (SKA Saint Petersburg)|
|2017–18||56||17||4||27||8||67||131||160||7th, Tarasov||Alexei Makeyev (38 points: 18 G, 20 A; 55 GP)||Did not qualify|
|2018–19||62||23||5||27||7||63||134||169||4th, Tarasov||Miro Aaltonen (42 points: 19 G, 23 A; 61 GP)||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (CSKA Moscow)|
|2019–20||62||19||8||24||11||65||137||166||3rd, Tarasov||Alexander Semin (38 points: 18 G, 20 A; 50 GP)||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (SKA Saint Petersburg)|
KHL All-Star GameEdit
- Mikhail Anisin, RW, 2011–12, 2012
- Alexander Korolyuk, RW, 2004–05, 2005–08, 2012–2014, 2013
- Chris Simon, LW, 2008–11, 2010, 2011
- Ivan Lisutin, G, 2012–15, 2014
- Maxim Afinogenov, RW, 2013–18, 2014
- Vyacheslav Anisin, July 1, 1997 – 31 May 1999
- Alexander Zachesov, 1 June 1999 – 11 October 2000
- Alexander Barinev, 11 October 2000 – 30 April 2001
- Valery Belov, 30 April 2001 – 15 June 2003
- Yury Rumyancev, 15 June 2003 – 5 April 2004
- Miskat Fakrutdinov, 5 April 2004 – 16 January 2005
- Alexander Bodunov, January 16, 2005 – 30 June 2005
- Anatoly Bogdanov, 30 June 2005 – 27 October 2005
- Alexander Bodunov, 27 October 2005 – 4 April 2006
- Mike Krushelnyski, 4 April 2006 – 31 March 2007
- Miskat Fakrutdinov, 18 June 2007 – 28 October 2007
- Sergey Gomolyako, 29 October 2007 – 5 November 2008
- Mike Krushelnyski, 6 November 2008 – 3 December 2009
- Alexei Yarushkin, 6 December 2009 – 14 October 2010
- Andrei Nazarov, 14 October 2010 – 18 May 2012
- Yuri Leonov, 20 June 2012 – 11 January 2014
- Oleg Orekhovskiy, 11 January 2014 – present
Franchise records and leadersEdit
KHL scoring leadersEdit
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history in the KHL. Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; bold = current Vityaz player 
Vysshaya Liga (1): 2005
Wingas Cup (1): 2017
Lehner Cup (1): 2018
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- (in Russian) Vityaz Chekhov official website