The Kontinental Hockey League’s 10th anniversary celebration is going to be literally out of this world.
The league’s trophy, the Gagarin Cup, is named after Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. So it makes sense that in the KHL’s 10th year they’ll celebrate by having a mini replica of the trophy and a puck blasted into space on Dec. 17 on the Soyuz MS-07 to the International Space Station.
After orbiting Earth for 72 days under the guidance of cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, they will return and the puck will be dropped before the first game of the 2018 Gagarin Cup Final.
“I am overjoyed to be handed this unusual and honorable mission – to deliver a puck and a replica of the Gagarin Cup to the International Space Station,” said Anton Shpaklerov, Commander of the crew of Expedition 54 and 55 to the ISS. “This is my third flight, but it will the first time I have embarked on a mission with such an unusual cargo. After today’s events, my interest in the game and in the KHL Championship will certainly grow. For me, and for all our crew who are already in orbit, it is a pleasure and an honor to be granted this role of Ambassadors in Space for the game of hockey and for the KHL.”
The NHL will be wrapping up its centennial celebrations next month so there’s still time for them to one-up their rivals. Here are some ideas:
• Leave the nightmare fuel-inducing flood-damaged head of Harvey the Hound on the ISS for prank opportunities.
• Grab some extra space rock to create the next line of hockey sticks.
• Next player who commits a Raffi Torres-level suspension gets left there like Matt Damon in “The Martian.”
• Attach one of Don Cherry’s suits to the end of a Zdeno Chara stick and plant it on the moon.
• Or just hold an outdoor game on the moon, which would involve the Chicago Blackhawks, naturally.
So, there are options.