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Traktor Chelyabinsk

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Traktor Chelyabinsk
Traktor Chelyabinsk logo
Founded 1947
Home ice Traktor Sport Palace
Based in Chelyabinsk
Colours White, black
League Kontinental Hockey League
Head coach Andrei Nazarov

Traktor Chelyabinsk (is an ice hockey team in the Kontinental Hockey League, based in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

HistoryEdit

Founded in 1947, Traktor have played for the Soviet and Russian championships since 1948. From 1948-1953 they were called Dzerzhinets Chelyabinsk and between 1954 to 1958 they were known as Avangard Chelyabinsk, after which they took their current name.

Between 1965 and 1968, Traktor played in the second division of the Soviet hockey championships. Thanks to coaches Viktor Stolyarov and Viktor Sokolov, the team returned to the first division in 1968.

In 1973, Traktor played in the national cup finals against the CSKA. Although Traktor led 2-0, they lost the game with a score of 2-5.

Traktor's performance greatly improved after Anatoly Kostryukov became the team's head coach. In the 1976-7 season, Traktor won bronze in the Soviet hockey championships - the team's highest achievement during the Soviet period of its history.

At this time, Traktor produced several players who achieved international prominence. One of the best Soviet forwards of all times, Sergei Makarov, was born in Chelyabinsk and began his career in Traktor. Along his teammate, defenseman Sergei Starikov, he regularly played on the Soviet national team from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. Starikov and Makarov each won over 10 international tournaments with Team USSR. Makarov's older brother Nikolai was also one of the best Soviet defensemen and played several times in various international competitions. Vyacheslav Bykov, a long-time member of the Soviet national team and currently the head coach of Team Russia, also played for Traktor for several years before he was acquired by CSKA. Traktor's goaltender, Sergei Mylnikov, was twice named the best goaltender of the Soviet championship. He was the Soviet team starting goalie at the 1987 Canada Cup and participated in two Olympics and five world championships. His son is currently playing for Traktor, also as a goaltender.

In the early 1990s, Traktor twice finished third in the International Hockey League. A group of Traktor players, including Sergei Gomolyako, Valery Karpov, Igor Varitsky, Ravil Gusmanov and others, appeared on Team Russia at several world championships.

In the late 1990s, ice hockey in Chelyabinsk entered a period of decline, and Traktor was relegated in 1998 to playing in Russia's second division. In the 2005-06 season, the team won the second division championship and was transferred back to the first division. After the 2006-07 season, Traktor head coach Gennady Tsygurov (himself a former player on the team) resigned. He was replaced by Andrei Nazarov, a native of Chelyabinsk who had spent 13 seasons in the NHL as an enforcer. In 2007-08, Traktor has risen in the standings compared to the previous season. The team was also able to sign Andrei Nikolishin, a center forward and a veteran of many NHL seasons.

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