I visited Moscow and St Petersburg in April for 10 days and in Moscow I met up with Maria, whom I’d met some two years before in Vietnam.
I couldn’t quite believe my luck when Maria asked if I fancied watching ice hockey whilst in town – what a question! Maria knows one of the players on the Dynamo Moscow team and as it turns out, it was game 5 of the Gregarian Cup – the Russian equivalent of the Stanley Cup!! There was no need to answer the question!
Moscow were 3-1 up and needed one final victory to secure the title: the arena was packed, the noise deafening and the atmosphere electric. Moscow went behind 3-0 in the 1st period but came back brilliantly to level it up in the 2nd. Locked at 3-3 for the majority of the final period, Chelyabinsk scored with 5 minutes to play and they held on for victory. It felt like someone had pierced a balloon such was the dismay amongst the fans but what an evening and experience it had been.
Nevertheless it had been a crazy and very special experience not just to watch any game of hockey in Russia but such an important game.
p.s – I read a few days later that Moscow went back to Chelyabinsk and won game 6 and the title.