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|Full name||Hockey Club Donbass|
|Arena||Ice Palace Druzhba Donetsk|
|League||Russian Major League|
|Head Coach||Aleksandr Kulikov|
|Affiliates||HC Donbass-2 (PHL)|
Donetsk Bears (junior)
Hockey Club Donbass (Russian: ХК Донбасс; Ukrainian: Хокейний Клуб Донбас, tr. Khokeinyi Klub Donbas) is a Ukrainian professional ice hockey team based in Donetsk. They are members of the Russian Major League (VHL), and are the reigning Ukrainian national champions. Following the 2010-11 season, Donbass split into two teams with their affiliate, HC Donbass-2, representing the club in the Professional Hockey League of Ukraine. The team takes its name from its geographic location in the heart of the Donets Basin (Donbas). Donbass has stated aspirations to join the Kontinental Hockey League.
Donbass made its first appearance in 2001, participating in Belarus' and Ukraine's respective entry divisions, earning bronze medals in each league's finals. The team would be dissolved shortly thereafter, however. In 2005 the team was reformed, reapplying for participation in the 1st division of the Ukrainian Major League. A lack of artificial ice in Donetsk forced the team to practice on Lake Yasinovataya. On only three weeks of practice, the team still managed to win goal in its respective division. Donbass would lose to ATEK Kyiv the following March, failing to earn promotion to the top national division. In the years that followed, though the team was promoted, it remained near the bottom of the standings on an annual basis.
Fortunes for the club changed in 2010 when owner Borys Kolesnikov gained full control of the team, making them the most financially secure team in the history of Ukrainian hockey. The first influential addition to the club was former Sokil Kyiv head coach, Aleksandr Kulikov. Under Kulikov, the team would extend a record 27-game win streak in the Ukrainian Hockey Championship on their pace to winning the national championship for the first time. With the win, Donbass became the first non-Kiev based team to win the national title. The win also secured the club entry to the 2011-12 IIHF Continental Cup, the third round of which Donetsk will host.
Following the 2011 Ukrainian League season, Donbass applied for and was given membership to the Russian Major League. A vast majority of championship winning roster from the 2010-11 season were cut from the roster as the team rebuilt for its freshman year in the VHL. While the primary team would compete in Russia, Donbass also iced a team in the newly formed Professional Hockey League of Ukraine.
In July, 2011, Donbass trained for the upcoming season in Ontario and held an exhibition game against the Ontario Hockey League all-star team. Donbass won the fight-filled game 4-1 and was reported to have garnered overwhelming fan support from the local Ukrainian diaspora, accounting for approximately 500 of the 550 in attendance.
The team's original colors of 2001 were blue and grey and featured a logo representing a hockey puck, with a hockey stick overlain. On November 14, 2008 the club changed their logo and team colors to the current scheme of red, black, and white. As part of this change, the team's name was changed from the Ukrainian spelling (Хокейний Клуб Донбас, Khokeinyi Klub Donbas) to Russian (Хоккейный Клуб Донбасс, Khokkeynyi Klub Donbass). The team again altered its logo in 2010, where it remains currently. The modern Donbass logos feature prominently two spoil tips, which represent the city's strong ties to the steel and coal mining industry. The change from a metallic script to white is meant to symbolize "a blank page".
- Ukrainian Hockey Championship: (1) 2011
- Aleksandr Kulikov, 2010– present
- ↑ Ukrainian HC Donbass applies for VHL membership
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Club History. HCDonbass.com. Retrieved on 11 September 2011.
- ↑ Leshchenko, Serhiy. "Борис Колесніков: Чому зібрався в Києві податковий майдан? Це ж смішно!". Retrieved on 10 September 2011.
- ↑ Hapshenko, Serhiy. "PHL. Introducing the team. HC Donbass", 26 August 2011. Retrieved on 11 September 2011.
- ↑ "HC Donbas won the first match at the training camp in Canada", 23 July 2011. Retrieved on 16 September 2011.
- ↑ Club Logo. HCDonbass.com. Retrieved on 11 September 2011.