This past March, due to the on-going violence in Ukraine, KHL side HC Donbass -- which features former NHLers Ruslan Fedotenko and Michael Leighton -- was forced to play most of their home playoff games at a neutral site. Two months later, the conflict reached their home rink, Druzhba Arena.
On Monday evening, pro-Russian separatists robbed the rink of “office equipment, plasma screens, a safe from the fan store, and a vehicle,” according to the team website, while also setting parts of the arena on fire.
The team released a statement on Tuesday citing "cynical and impudent behavior of terrorists caused indignation of both the hockey community" and Donbass.
Dozens were killed earlier in the day during a stand-off at Donetsk airport and fortunately no one was injured during the blaze at Druzhba Arena. The team expects the building to be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season in September before moving into a new rink the following year.
Here’s a statement from Donbass head coach Andrey Nazarov:
“The entire hockey community, coaching staff and players of the hockey club ‘Donbass’ are indignant by the events that occurred this night at the Arena ‘Druzhba’, as well as by its cynical arson. Management of the HC ‘Donbass’ repeatedly emphasized that sport has always been out of politics, but it has not stopped those who carried out the attack. I am sure that despite what happened, the Arena ‘Druzhba’ will be restored in the shortest terms and the HC ‘Donbass’ will be preparing for the Championship of the Kontinental Hockey League”.
According to Ukraine's Pravda, it's believed the act was in retaliation to Donbass' President aligning himself with anti-separatist Rinat Akhmetov.
Last week, the IIHF announced that the 2015 Division I Group A tournament will be held in Donetsk next April.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- HC Donbass