On Wednesday, the 24th of May, in the concert hall of Moscow’s Barvikha Luxury Village hotel, the KHL staged the 2016-17 season Closing Ceremony, a glittering gala evening dedicated to celebrating the ninth Kontinental Hockey League Championship and rewarding some of the many heroes whose talent, skill, and endeavor helped make the season such a stunning success.
Prizes were up for grabs in no fewer than 24 categories, and Gagarin Cup finalists Metallurg Magnitogorsk and CSKA Moscow featured heavily among the winners.
The first trophies of the night were handed out to SKA Saint Petersburg and Metallurg Magnitogorsk for becoming champions of, respectively, the Western and Eastern Conference.
The Tikhonov Cup, for the team which finished first in the overall regular championship standings, was won for the third successive year by CSKA Moscow, whose account after 60 regular season games stood at 137 points, 183 goals and 41 victories.
The Golden Stick award for being the MVP of the Championship was won by Magnitogorsk captain Sergei Mozyakin, who recorded 85 (48+37) regular season points and 24 (7+17) in the playoffs, and his post-season scoring began with his 1,000th career point. It is the fourth time in nine years that Mozyakin has won the prize. Unsurprisingly, the Magnitka marksman also collected the awards for Top Scorer and Top Sniper in the regular championship, for the second successive season. There was one surprise for Mozyakin, however: on stage to hand him the silverware was Gennady Khaletsky, the first man to coach the legendary forward.
The award for Player of the Season in the MHL (Junior Hockey League) was won by Artyom Manukyan of the Omskie Yastreby (Omsk Hawks). The 18-year-old forward scored an incredible 105 points during the season.
19-year-old forward Anna Shokhina of Tornado, who scored 81 (42+39) points in 36 games over the 2016-17 season, was namedPlayer of the Season in the WHL (Women’s Hockey League).
The award for the Best Goaltender of the season went to Vasily Koshechkin of Magnitogorsk. It is the second time Vasily has earned the accolade, and thanks to his performances over the season he now has 82 career shutouts – a record for Russian championships.
The Best Troika award, for the League’s highest-scoring offensive line, was won by SKA Saint Petersburg’s fearsome trio of Vadim Shipachyov - Evgeny Dadonov - Nikita Gusev, who did so much to bring the Gagarin Cup to the Northern Capital.
The award for the Best Plus-Minus over the regular championship went to SKA defenseman Anton Belov, who merited a +34 after 56 appearances.
SKA Saint Petersburg boss Oleg Znarok won the prize for the Best Coach of the season, having previously won the award with HC MVD and twice with Dynamo Moscow.
A new prize devised for this season by the KHL and Mastercard is the Priceless League award, created to honor the most passionate supporter and the greatest player of the season. The Priceless Fan prize went to a Mr. Konstantin Galchenko, while the Priceless Player was judged to be none other than Sergei Mozyakin.
There was a second award for Anton Belov. In addition to his prize for the best plus/minus rating, he also captured one of the Gentleman on Ice awards, given each season to one defenseman and one attacker to reward players who combine sporting excellence with impeccable behavior. We believe our readers are also familiar with the name of the winning forward in this category: Sergei Mozyakin.
A special Nerves of Steel award was presented to Salavat Yulaev goaltender Andrei Gavrilov, for coolly sipping from a bottle of water during an offensive raid on his goal.
The Vsevolod Bobrov award, which goes to the highest scoring team in the regular season, was won by SKA Saint Petersburg. The eventual champion hit 249 goals.
The Iron Man award, for playing in the most championship games over the last three seasons, was won by Metallurg Magnitogorsk forward Jan Kovar, with 230 appearances.
The Alexei Cherepanov award for the best young player of the season went to Admiral’s 21-year old forward Vladimir Tkachyov.
The Golden Helmet award is given to each player in a symbolic team of the season, selected by a ballot of head coaches. The chosen few for the IX Championship were: goaltender Igor Shestyorkin (SKA), defensemen Viktor Antipin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk) and Jakub Jerabek (Vityaz), plus forwards Sergei Mozyakin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk), Jan Kovar (Metallurg Magnitogorsk), and Vadim Shipachyov (SKA),
The Golden Whistle awards for the best match officials were won by referee Sergei Kulakov and linesman Dmitry Sivov.
The Valentin Sych award, given to the hockey club chief who has shown the best leadership qualities over the season, was won by SKA vice-president Roman Rotenberg.
The prize for Best Hockey Journalist of 2016-17 was won by Sovietsky Sport correspondent Pavel Lycenkov.
The Vladimir Piskunov award for Best Administrator went to Viktor Sukhov of Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
The Andrei Zimin award for the Best Team Doctor went to Severstal medic Sergei Vinnikov.