However, the fans in attendance were in good spirits. With the New Year fast approaching (The 25th of December is not celebrated as ‘Christmas’ in Russia. New Year’s Day is the equivalent) fans refused to let the defeat dampen their mood.
Outside the main entrance of the arena stood a huge inflatable Santa Claus caricature, welcoming supporters to the game.
This game was also the 100th time Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik played in their current wolf branded uniform, as I have mentioned in my previous article entitled Creating Change.
Fans got to show their support on this occasion by designing signs which they brought with them to the game. Many people took part and their signs were visible all over the arena. Over the next couple of days, the best sign will be chosen via an online vote, and the winner will receive prizes courtesy of the club.
Before the game began, supporters were treated to a musical number by The Accordion Brothers. The performance was incredible and the brothers are very talented. Their music was fast and lively.
After the end of the first period, during intermission, younger fans were invited to the stage near the merchandise kiosks to have their photo taken with beautiful husky dogs. This was symbolic of the 100th game in Neftekhimik’s wolf branded uniform.
The huskies were very well trained and behaved as they were expected to, completely unfazed by all the attention they were getting.
Admittedly, I did ask someone why real wolves weren’t used instead of huskies. I was informed that real wolves would have been too dangerous and it would have been a terrible idea to stand children next to them for photos. After mentally reviewing the logic of this argument, I decided that I completely agreed.
Despite the fact that Neftekhimik victories have been rare in recent weeks, the vocal support of their fans has not been diminished.
Even in defeat, the smiles of the fans’ prove that you’ll always have a good time at the Neftekhim Arena.