Zenit and CKA – Support your local team
Zenit and CKA – Get Out And Support Your Local Team
Two of the most popular sports to play and watch in Russia are Ice Hockey and Football. Saint Petersburg is home to two teams who play at the highest level in these sports. In this post you will learn everything you need to know about FC Zenit Saint Petersburg (Зенит) and the hockey club SKA Saint Petersburg (СКА, Спортивный клуб армии – Sport Club of the Army).
Zenit Saint Petersburg was founded in 1925. This date however is the matter of some debate. Some say that the club, or at least something that evolved into the club was founded as early as 1914. This would be exceptionally early, since the first football match in Saint Petersburg was played in 1896 when the team “Ostrov” (from Vasilievsky Island) beat “Petrograd” 6 to 0.
During the 60s the club experienced somewhat of a nadir, it has however reached its zenith a couple of times. One such zenith were the years under Italian coach Luciano Spalletti during which Zenit Saint Petersburg won the UEFA Europa League as well as the Russian Championships two years in a row.
For now the club calls the Petrovsky stadion (стадион Петровский) on Petrovsky Island home. In the near future the new arena on Krestovsky will be finished, drastingly increasing capacity to almost 67000 seats.
Famous fans include Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Shostakovich.
As for CKA Saint Petersburg, the clue to the team’s history is in the name. Founded in 1946, the club originally consisted of military officers and was part of the sport administration of the Soviet Ministry of Defence. The club played in the highest soviet division until 1991. Just like Zenit, CKA were in trouble during the late sixties, losing two humiliating Soviet Cup finals against Spartak and CSKA Moscow.
Success is something that only has come during the last couple of years, coinciding with the formation of the KHL, the Kontinental Hockey League – «Континентальная хоккейная лига».
Since 2012 the team has won both the Gagarin Cup, the Continental Cup as well as breaking the record for attendance. CKA is the first Russian hockey team to break the five-figure wall at home games. The team plays their home games at the Ice Palace (Ледовый дворец).
Famous fans include Russian movie director Fedor Bondarchuk and Serbian Tennis Pro Novak Djokovic.
This post was brought to you by Vincent, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz