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The fairytale on ice. St. Petersburg becomes the continent’s hockey capital

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For the 1st time in the history of the Gagarin Cup, the SKA won this trophy. The path to it could have easily made a plot for another blockbuster about will to succeed and overcoming hardships. People started talking of SKA’s chances only when Kovalchuk’s team was trailing to Moscow’s CSKA and managed to pick itself up. To the very top. Alexander Burenin grasped the euphoria.

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Alexander Burenin, reporter: «Last seconds of the game, nobody watches it. The icy fairytale has become real for St. Petersburg. Now we can say - the Cup is ours!».

Ovation rocks the fan zone. In the very same seconds, gear and helmets are thrown on the ice rink in Kazan - the icy heroes of St. Petersburg make a celebratory scramble by the walls. Oh, there was so much irony about the «jinxed SKA» and about AK Bars undefeated in the finals with their Tatar cup. But after just 5 matches of the final series, the KHL’s main trophy is lifted by Ilya Kovalchuk. After which the cup goes through the wide opened doors of the dressing room and celebrations commence. Captain gets the first sip of champagne. Followed by Shipachev, Toresen, the injured Kalinin as well as the young Yudin and Barabanov.

St. Petersburg, in the mean time, was subjected to April snow. But this did not deter the fans, who had been waiting to greet their team. The grounds of the Pulkovo airport were coloured in red and blue. Many have been anticipating this cup for years and are now letting all their emotions out. Fans returned from Kazan even before the team, but they had no strength to celebrate - they had left it all on the away rink.

The arrival time kept on changing. Midnight, half-past, are they here already - oh, no, another 15 minutes. But nobody wanted to leave.

Vladislav Radimov, 2007 football champion of Russia: «I’ve been attending hockey games since i was a kid. I remember how the city greeted us when we became champions and i want to feel the same emotion now when i meet my beloved team»

And there the plane landed in Pulkovo - at 2am. Kovalchuk carried the cup out. Further commentaries are unnecessary.

The bus crawled from the parking spot at a snail speed, but it seemed that the fans were ready to carry their idols on their hands. The only person who was not in a rush was Ponikarovskiy - he kept signing for all those wanting.

The 2015 team has been embedded in history forever. They overcame what seemed to be an eternal plight of Moscow’s Dinamo - they overcame a 3-0 difference against CSKA in the semi-finals, Dadonov broke all scoring records and, most importantly, claimed the Cup. For the first time ever, St. Petersburg became the continent’s ice-hockey capital. The Gagarin Cup no longer seems to be something unreachable. 

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