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Sokil Kiev

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Sokil Kiev
City: Kyiv
League: Belarusian Extraleague
Division: Western
Founded: 1963
Home Arena: Sport Palace Kyiv

Sokil Kyiv is a professional ice hockey team based in Kyiv, Ukraine. They are a member of the Belarusian Extraleague.

The club was founded in 1963 as part of the Dynamo Kyiv sports program, and adopted its current moniker in 1973. They are the second major-professional ice hockey team to represent the city of Kyiv, preceded only by its short lived predecessor, Dynamo Kyiv (1953). They are the most successful Ukrainian team to compete in the Soviet Championship League, and are currently the only such team competing abroad. In 1986, Sokil managed to become the first and only Ukrainian-based team to compete in the Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament, where they would finish 2nd. They also became the first Ukrainian team to win a major-professional league championship, doing so in the Eastern European Hockey League consecutively in 1998 and 1999. Sokil to this day remains the oldest and most accomplished team in Ukrainian hockey, winning 10 of the 15 Ukrainian Championships held since 1992.

Franchise historyEdit

1963-1973: DynamoEdit


Dynamo Kyiv, 1965

The team was founded in the summer of 1963 by the Deputy Chairman of Sports of Ukraine, Adrian Miziak, under the name of Dynamo Kyiv. 1963 may be the official birth date of the team, but it was a decade earlier that a Dynamo team from Kyiv would play in the Soviet Cup, making it as far as the second round of the playoffs. The current incarnation, however, would begin its hockey operations in the second tier of Soviet ice hockey, holding its first game on October 27, 1963 against SKA Kuybyshev. The team's first head coach was Dmitri Boginov. Forward Viktor Martinov would score the first goal in club history two minutes into the match, and the team would go on to win the game at a score of 4:1. Martinov would go on to lead the team in goals that season with 16.


Yuri Bystrov lead the team in goals (19) in 1965

Though the team would finish 6th in its inaugural season, they would go on to have the best record in their division the following year; earning a promotion to the top level of competition in the Soviet leagues. To open the 1965-66 season, Kyiv would boast the second largest arena in the Soviet Union. However, while competing at the top level, Dynamo struggled. During its five years of competition in the league, which included playoff qualification each year, the team would exhibit sub-par play. Sokil's Soviet Cup playoff run in 1968 would prove to be a highlight in otherwise disappointing campaigns. Their elimination by SKA Leningrad in the quarterfinals would be the furthest the team would finish in the tournament for nearly a decade. In the following season, Sokil would finish the first round of competition in 10th place of 12 teams, resulting in a temporary demotion to the second-tier of competition. This would last the remainder of the season. They would finish 6th in this group of 18, and 12th of 24 in the record books. This poor showing would not prove a motivator for the following year, though the departure of coach Boginov would not help either. He would be replaced by Igor Shichkov, the team would finish dead last in the 1969-70 season, and once again become subject to outright relegation. The final three years under the Dynamo name would show gradual, albeit slow improvements; each season finishing one place higher in the standings.


Nikolai Kulkov, the team's first goaltender

1973-1996: The FalconsEdit

For the clubs 10th year anniversary in 1973, the club would drop the Dynamo moniker, a move which would have a lasting legacy. The historical white and blue colors of the Dynamo sports society would be kept intact, but the team would adopt the name of the "Falcon", or "Sokil" in Ukrainian.


Sokil vs. Spartak, 1975

Though Sokil's play would remain inconstant throughout the 70s, the hiring of Anatoli Bogdanov as head coach in 1976 would have an immediate impact on the teams fortunes. By the 1978 season, the team would finish 2nd overall and re-ascend to the top of the Soviet league. In their first season back, great goaltending by Konstantin Gavrilov managed to overcome a poor offense, and ultimately allowed the team squeak into the playoffs, bypassing Avtomobilist Sverdlovsk by a mere point. This foray into Soviet Cup playoffs would prove to be one of the best runs in the teams history, making it as far as the semifinals where they would ultimately fall to the legendary CSKA Moscow team. Unfortunately for the team, the Cup playoffs would not be held again for another 8 years. During this period of emphasis on regular season performance, several stars would begin to emerge from the team's ranks. Between 1981 to 1990, six players would be named to the league's 34 man All Star selections, 5 of whom were multiple time recipients.



Sokil would remain competitive, but the addition of homegrown forward Dmitri Khristich and defenseman Alexander Godynyuk in 1985 and 1986, respectively, would elevate the team to new heights. Their 3rd place finish in 1985 would remain a franchise best, Ramil Yuldashev would claim the league award for most hat-tricks this year with 2, and Nikolai Narimanov would lead the league in goals with 26. The following year in 1986, Sergei Davydov would follow up on Yuldashev's success and win the hat-trick award. Sokil would be invited to the Spengler Cup tournament where they would continue their success as finalists, succumbing only to Team Canada.

Winning the Tampere Cup in 1989 marked a turning point for the franchise, which would be a victim to the Soviet Union's collapse. The coming down of the Iron Curtain would allow the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League to draft rising local talent and Kyiv teammate Alexei Zhitnik 81st overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Zhitnik would remain the highest drafted professional Sokil player to this day. Not all talent was affected, however, as Yuldashev would lead the league in goals in 1990 along with points in 1991, and Valery Shiryaev would be named the league's top defensemen in both years as well. Following a 15th place finish in 1992, the lowest in team history, the team and coach Bogdanov would part ways. This would also mark a change in the team's official name to accommodate a new sponsor; the club competed under the name Sokil Eskulap (Ukrainian: Сокіл-Ескулап, Russian: Сокол-Эскулап) for only the 1992-93 International Hockey League (IHL) season. Bogdanov's dismissal did little to curtail the franchise's downward spiral, with the team reaching new record lows with head coach Alexander Fedeev at the helm. He would hold the position until 1996, which also marked the team's parting of ways with the newly formed Russian Hockey League.

A positive product of these troubled years is the continued development of local talent. Future Olympian and Stanley Cup champion, Ruslan Fedotenko would leave the team in 1996 to pursue his NHL dreams. Kyivans Anton Babchuk and Nikolai Zherdev, products of the Sokil junior development program, would later be recruited by Elektrostal scouts in the Russian Major League. They would later be drafted into the NHL, both in the first round.

1996-2009: TransitionsEdit

With the dissolution of the IHL, orphaned teams from the Soviet Bloc found a home in the newly formed Eastern European Hockey League. Benefiting from a lower level of competition than that of the Russian league, and new head coach Oleksandr Seukand, the team would find renewed success. Kyiv would finish 1st overall in 4 of the league's 8 seasons, and become league champions in both 1998 and 1999. Sokil players like Valentin Oletskiy (1997, 2000) and Dmitri Markovskiy (1998) would secure scoring titles, Konstantin Kasyanchuk was awarded league forward MVP in 2001, and Vadim Seliverstov was named top goaltender in 2003.


Sokil competed in Belarus in 2005

From 2004 through to the 2006-07 season, the team would also compete in the Open Championship of Belarus, the EEHL's spiritual successor. Here they would continue their success until hitting a metaphorical wall in 2006-07, allowing more than twice as many goals against than for, and ultimately not qualifying for the playoffs. It would be the first time they would not qualify for a league playoff in over a decade.


In 2008, Sokil adopted a new team logo

In spite of government cuts to hockey programs in the city, Kyiv would realign its franchise with Russia, though this time with the more modest Russian Major League. Here, they received relative success. In their first season, Sokil would finish 5th in the division, 8th overall in wins. On top of these improvements, they would carry the 4th most potent offense in the league. The newly revived team was met with continued success in the Russian league, finishing with the best regular season record that year; 4th overall in points percentage. They would qualify for a bye in the first round, handily defeat Ryazan in the secondaries, but would ultimately fall to Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk in a 3-1 lopsided series.


Following the 2008-09 season in the Russian league, the club announced they would rejoining the Belarusian Extraleague for the following year. This was a move largely attributed to the financial burdens brought on by the Russian Ice Hockey Federation's (RHF) mandate that foreign teams pay for the travel, accommodations, and meals of visiting teams. The RHF also demanded that foreign teams pay an annual fee of p.1,500,000 rubles (approx. Euro 35,000).

Recently, Sokil Kyiv has declared interest as a possible expansion team to join the Kontinental Hockey League, but due to financial concerns look unlikely to bid until 2010-11. A new arena is scheduled to be constructed by 2014.

Seasons and recordsEdit

Season by season resultsEdit

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by Sokil. For the full season-by-season history, see Sokil Kyiv seasons.

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, OL = Overtime wins, SW = Shootout wins, T = Ties, OL = Overtime Losses, SL = Shootout Losses, L = Losses , Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season League GP W OW SW T OL SL L GF GA Pts FinishPlayoffs
2004-05BLR44242-51-1213295823rd of 12Lost Relegation 0-2, (Khimvolokno)
2005-06BLR55311-62-151451081034th of 12Lost in Quarterfinals 3-0, (Khimvolokno)
2006-07BLR5090-52-34942033410th of 12DNQ
2007-08RUS-2602724-45182011551027th of 30Lost in Preliminary round, 0-3 (Kazakhmys Karaganda)
2008-09RUS-2664535-10122391341524th of 33Lost in Quarterfinals 3-1, (Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk)
Combined totals 275 136 8 10 23 9 5 79 811 695 473

League history and resultsEdit

Soviet eraEdit

Soviet Championship League

Modern eraEdit

Russian Major LeagueBelarusian ExtraligaEastern European Hockey LeagueInternational Hockey League (1993–1996)

Team awardsEdit

League ChampionsEdit



Honored membersEdit

Honored numbers Edit

Retired Numbers SOKOL

Retired jerseys as they appear hanging from the rafters

Sokil Kyiv has officially honored five numbers in their history. All of the honorees were born in Ukraine.

Sokil Kyiv retired numbers
No. Player Years
8 Dmitri Khristich6
11 Anatoly Stepanischev12
13 Alexei Zhitnik2
14 Valeri Shiryaev9
22 Yuri Shundrov12

*Both Zhitnik and Shiryaev are also members of the Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame

Individual awardsEdit

Soviet Championship All Stars

Soviet League Knight Attack award (Most hat-tricks)

Soviet League Sniper award (Most goals)

Soviet League Total Points award

Soviet League Top Defenseman award

Team leadersEdit

Head coaches
Team captains

Drafted players Edit

The following are players who have been drafted in the National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft and played the season prior to the draft for the Sokil ice hockey organization. There have been 9 players drafted in the NHL Entry Draft from the Sokil organization.

The most notable players drafted from Sokil are defenseman Alexei Zhitnik, who played more the 1000 regular season games in the NHL, and forward Dmitri Khristich, who scored over 250 goals and 500 points.

= Played in NHL = NHL All-Star = Hall of Famer
PlayerHometownOriginDrafted byYearRoundOverall
DTatarinov, MikhailMikhail Tatarinov AngarskFlag of Russia RussiaWashington Capitals19840110225
RWKhristich, DmitriDmitri Khristich KyivFlag of Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSRWashington Capitals1988060120
DGodynyuk, AlexanderAlexander Godynyuk KyivFlag of Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSRToronto Maple Leafs1990060115
CKuzminsky, AlexanderAlexander Kuzminsky KyivFlag of Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSRToronto Maple Leafs1991060120
DZhitnik, AlexeiAlexei Zhitnik KyivFlag of Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSRLos Angeles Kings199104081
RWVologjaninov, IvanIvan Vologjaninov KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineLos Angeles Kings19920110254
DGunko, YuriYuri Gunko KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineSt. Louis Blues19920100230
DAlexeev, AlexanderAlexander Alexeev KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineWinnipeg Jets1992060132
DBuschan, AndreiAndrei Buschan KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineSan Jose Sharks1993050106
GKarpenko, IgorIgor Karpenko KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineAnaheim Mighty Ducks1995080185
LWKoveshnikov, AnatoliAnatoli Koveshnikov KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineDallas Stars1995080193
NikolaiZherdev cropped

Nikolai Zherdev is the highest drafted player in the city of Kyiv's history

Junior Program NHL AlumniEdit

The following products of Sokil's hockey school have gone on to be drafted into the NHL.

PlayerHometownOriginDrafted byDrafted fromYearRoundOverall
DKlimentiev, SergeiSergei Klimentiev KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineBuffalo SabresMedicine Hat Tigers1994050121
DLinnik, MaximMaxim Linnik KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineSt. Louis BluesSt. Thomas Stars199802041
LWPonikarovsy, AlexeiAlexei Ponikarovsy KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineToronto Maple LeafsKrylya Sovetov199804087
LWMikhnov, AlexeiAlexei Mikhnov KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineEdmonton OilersLokomotiv Yaroslavl200001017
DBabchuk, AntonAnton Babchuk KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineChicago BlackhawksElemash Elektrostal200201021
CMikhnov, AndriyAndriy Mikhnov KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineSt. Louis BluesSudbury Wolves200202062
LWZherdev, NikolaiNikolai Zherdev KyivFlag of Ukraine UkraineColumbus Blue JacketsCSKA Moscow20030104

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