Based in the city of Yaroslavl is one of Russia’s professional hockey teams, the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the second-best hockey league in the world, it has produced many a good hockey player. This international hockey league was formed as a successor to the Russian Superleague, which Lokomotiv won in 1997, 2002 and 2003. The team was also a runner up several years, both for this and in different cups, such as the Gagarin Cup.
The Team Name
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl has not always been the team’s name. It was derived in 2000 from its owner, Russian Railways. Before this, it was known under names such as Torpedo, Motor, Trud and YaMZ, dating all the way back to 1959. It was however as Torpedo Yaroslavl that they started to get some success, winning their first RSL championship in 1997. Their best winning streak though, must be said to have been under the Lokomotiv name with the Czech head coach Vladimír Vujtek, Sr., leading to the team winning the league both in 2002 and 2003. When the head coach left the team after this, the team never had the same success, but they still managed to stay in the top leagues.
The Lokomotiv Hockeyteam Disaster
Sadly, however, it is not really the merits of the team that has made Lokomotiv Yaroslavl known to the world. On their way to the first KHL-game of the season in Minsk, on September 7th 2011, the team’s plane crashed.
In the aftermath of the tragedy KHL president Alexander Medvedev announced that a disaster draft would be held in order to get a team on the ice for the 2011/2012 season. However, just a few days after the crash, the team announced that they would not play the KHL-season but rather play in the Russian Major League (VHL) for the season.
This could have been the end for one of Russia’s greatest teams, but September 6th 2012 the team once again was back in the KHL. Their first game was against Sibir Novosibirsk, with opposing fans chanting “Lokomotiv” from the sidelines.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Today
With locked out and former NHL-players, together with local junior players, Lokomotiv have built the strength of a great team once again. Never forgetting the players that once were and should have been, their history only makes them stronger, with team spirit unlike any other.
If you truly want an unforgettable experience when staying at the Park Inn by Radisson Yaroslavl hotel
in the city centre, try to get tickets to one of the team’s home games. In no other place will you get an atmosphere like the one that runs through the city of Yaroslavl when Lokomotiv enters the ice.