Avangard vs. Vityaz: the Bloodiest Rivalry in Hockey Escalates


Darcy the Fighter (photo via KP.ru)

UPDATE 12/11, 3PM: Suspensions have been doled out. Belokon has been suspended for 13 games, Verot for 12, Gratton for 15, and Larin for 13. Avangard will pay 100k RUR (3.3k USD) to the KHL, and Vityaz will pay 400k RUR (13k USD). Justice is served. Go about your day, citizen.

Editor’s note- Fedor is a total fanboy for Avangard. This is not dispassionate reporting.

We’ve written before about the Avangard-Vityaz rivalry and how it all started back in ’09. After almost two years and two fight-ful games, 12/10/10 begins a new era in the rivalry. For the newbies, here’s a little background:

  • Vityaz Chekhov (stars: ex-Cap Chris Simon, ex-Bear Brandon Sugden, ex-Cap Darcy Verot, Josh Gratton) is the toughest team in the KHL, full of provokers and shameless punks. They were rumored to have signed the legendary Chris Chelios a few weeks ago. They are dead last in the West– 8 points behind the next spot, 17 points out of the playoffs. Their coach is the best Russian fighter in the NHL history, Andrei Nazarov.
  • Avangard Omsk Region (stars: ex-Cap Jaromir Jagr, Martin Skoula, Marek Svatos, Kari Ramo) is one of the most successful and richest teams in the league.  They are currently fifth in the East.

How is this fight unlike its predecessors? For the first time, one team didn’t fight at all, the Hawks (Avangard’s nickname) were simply pummeled by the Vityazes (Vityaz is a Russian knight). Vityaz started their thugs (Verot, Simon, Sugden, Gratton) and sent them after Avangard immediately following the opening face off.

Get ready to  say “OUCH”.

Roman Cervenka and Martin Skoula of Avangard ended up in the hospital. Also, take a look at Verot’s disgraceful behaviour against Karri Ramo. Avangard scored twice on the resulting powerplay and won the game 3-2.

This is how a KHL site writer from Omsk described the fight in a live update:

On the sixth second of the game, five fighters from vityaz [sic] went for Avnagrd’s “playing” [Ed. Note – Russian term for players who are not fighters] players, guys from Omsk fell as those contiuned to pound them even when they fell.

Avangard released a letter to the KHL requesting lifetime suspensions for all Vityaz’ coaches and players. The point is that– according to the letter– Vityaz had already purchased tickets to Moscow for their fighters because the team know they wouldn’t continue the road trip due to suspension.

We’ll keep you posted as this story develops.

RMNB wish Cervenka and Skoula fastest recovery and hopes that anybody who can be blamed for their injuries will get fair punishment for their actions.

  • Livia

    I started watching the video and had to stop half-way through. I agree with you, Fedor–the Vityaz players’ behavior was barbaric.

  • Mr Beverage

    Disgraceful. Were there any fights/cheap shots/retaliation hits throughout the game?

  • Megan

    I’m an Omsk fan too, and this was just cheap. The last time they met up even, most of the Avangard players didn’t want to fight- notably Jaromir Jagr stayed out of it, unlike previous times- and it still continued.

    They should ban the team. It’s not a good “rival” if all you do is fight, and fight dirty at that. Every time it’s the same thing, they didn’t even give Avangard a chance to reject the fight or anything- they just attacked right off the face-off.

    I hope this gets dealt with properly. It gives a bad name to the KHL if this is all most people hear about. Also, I’m glad Chelios didn’t sign with them, but hope he can find another team (how cool would that be?)

  • Ian

    I really liked Darcy Verot. But the KHL version of him is a jerk.

  • MattTheBeerGuy

    At least Sugar didn’t start this one. Actually, I haven’t heard anything about him recently.

  • R17a

    dirt rather than hockey

  • Fedor Fedin

    @MrBeverage No word on that. All the following penalties look like non-disciplinary, just usual things.

  • Fedor Fedin
  • Dominic

    That was brutal. I love fights in hockey- but I don’t see that as a proper fight. That almost seemed like an attack. On a different note, resisting the urge to bust out “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” really isn’t easy.

  • chris

    More like, “I went to a fight and a war broke out. And some people had hockey sticks.”

  • Jg

    It just looks like college hockey in America. obviously no one commenting here has ever played.