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‘Player of the game’ gets an AK-47 on Russian hockey team

WATCH: Izhstal Izhevsk, a mid-tier hockey team in Russia, uses a Kalashnikov rifle as a trophy.

In hockey-playing Russia, gun rewards you.

A mid-tier Russian hockey team has adopted a higher-calibre version of a popular dressing room tradition by using an AK-47 as a trophy to recognize the best player after every game.

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Players on Izhstal Izhevsk, in Russia’s VHL, honoured their goaltender this week by arming him with the rifle after a standout performance.

Video posted by the team on YouTube shows head coach Ramil Saifullin walking into the dressing room after a game, Kalashnikov rifle in hand.

Ramil Saifullin, coach of Izhstal Izhevsk, holds an AK-47 in his team’s dressing room on Sept. 10, 2019.
Ramil Saifullin, coach of Izhstal Izhevsk, holds an AK-47 in his team’s dressing room on Sept. 10, 2019. Izhstal Izhevsk/YouTube

He can be heard cocking the gun just before he delivers a speech about the team’s performance. He then hands the gun over to the team captain, who in turn presents it to the goalie.

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Goalie Saveli Kononov holds an AK-47 after his team, Izhstal Izhevsk, honoured his performance in a game on Sept. 10, 2019.
Goalie Saveli Kononov holds an AK-47 after his team, Izhstal Izhevsk, honoured his performance in a game on Sept. 10, 2019. Izhstal Izhevsk/YouTube

“Man of the match”-style trophies have become common in many leagues, including the NHL. However, the trophy is usually something slightly less deadly, like a silly hat or a jacket.

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Kononov stopped 36 of 38 shots in his team’s 3-2 victory over Chelmet Chelyabinsk. Forward Vadim Shchegolkov also played well, with one goal and five shots.

(Perhaps he didn’t win the AK-47 because they didn’t want to give him any more shots.)