|Home Arena||Platinum Arena|
|Colors||blue and white|
|Head Coach||Hannu Jortikka|
HC Amur Khabarovsk (in Russian: Амур Хабаровск) is a professional hockey team based in Khabarovsk, Russia playing in the Continental Hockey League. The team is nicknamed the Tigers and play its home games at the Platinum Arena.
History[edit | edit source]
Amur Khabarovsk was founded in 1966 as SKA Khabarovsk; it only adopted its current name in 1996, a name that comes from the nearby river Amur. By its location in the Russian Far East, the team is pretty isolated from every other team in the KHL, making rivalries difficult; the nearest KHL team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, is located some 3,000 km away. Still, the team is very popular among Khabarovsk citizens, and despite its usual poor results, the team keeps being highly successful at the gates.
For a long time a lower division dweller, Khabarovsk won the championship of the Soviet League Division 3 in 1989, earning promotion to the upper level. In 1996, Khabarovsk promoted to the Russian Superleague. A relegation to the Vysshaya Liga occured in 2004 when the mining company that funds the club had financial difficulties. The Tigers could promote back to the top level in 2006. That same financial crisis forced the team's reserve squad, the Golden Amur Khabarovsk, to withdraw from the Asia League where it played for the 2004-05 season. The team could finish the season and take part in the playoffs, however; they finished third in regular season standings and failed to reach the playoffs finals.
In 2008, Khabarovsk was one of the 24 founding members of the Kontinental Hockey League. The team played the league's inaugural game on September 2nd against Dinamo Riga at home in front of a sell-out crowd of 7,100 people. Unfortunately for the fans, their team lost 4-2 to the Latvian side. Riga and the Tigers were playing back-to-back games in Khabarovsk, however, and on the second match, Amur won 7-6 in a tied game that went to shootouts. But the 2008-09 KHL season didn't prove to be very succesful for the Tigers. The team was plagued with injuries - in October only, 11 players were side-lined, including imports Kyle Wanvig and Bryce Lampman. The Tigers needed to strenghten their squad, and therefore offered a contract to Carolina Hurricanes's Matt Murley, which resulted in a controversy sometimes compared to Alexander Radulov's, even though there are many differences. Murley's signing didn't prove beneficial for Amur though, as he only contributed 8 points to a fairly impotent offence that scored only 111 goals. Veterans Oleg Belkin and Peter Nylander were Amur's top goal scorers with 11 goals each; Belkin was top scorer with a meager 24 points in 50 games. Amur's defence was better, with regular defencemen Vasily Turkovsky and Viktor Kostyuchenok even managing to finish the season with a +3 and +2 record, respectively. But overall, the season was disappointing for the Tigers, with a 20th place, 15 wins and 60 points.
Things barely improved in 2009-10. Amur finished 21st, out of playoffs again, this time again with 60 points and only 12 wins in regular time (plus three in overtime and six in the shootouts). Former Montreal Canadiens' and Columbus Blue Jackets' David Ling did the best in offense with 32 points, while Alexei Kopeykin and Ruslan Khasanshin were the best goal scorers with respectively 16 and 14 goals. All in all, it's only 129 goals that the team scored, 18 better than the previous season, but still fourth worst in the league. Oleg Belkin had to miss the whole season, while Peter Nylander left the team after ten game to go back in Sweden, joining Timrå IK of the Elitserien. The defence was not as solid as the previous season, with Turkovsky retired and Kostyuchenok traded to Spartak Moscow after 14 games. The result was 187 goals against, 29 more than the previous season. Former NHL veteran and Stanley Cup winner Nolan Pratt ended up being the fourth defenceman on the team in icetime and finished the season with 11 points and a -14 +/- rating. Fortunately, despite playing a disappointing season, Khabarovsk couls still count on the 4th highest average attendance in the league, with an average of 7,100 fans per game.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Category:Amur Tigers Khabarovsk player
- Category:Amur Tigers Khabarovsk coach
- Category:Amur Tigers Khabarovsk season