Russian Man Named Man Of The Match And Given AK47 As Prize
In any team sport, being named 'man of the match' is a proper honour. Usually the skilled player might receive a trophy, or maybe a nice bottle of expensive champagne, although just the opportunity to bask in the glory is enough of a reward.
But one Russian hockey player was given a slightly more... shall we say 'unconventional' gift as he was presented with an AK47.
Goalkeeper Saveli Kononov was handed the automatic machine gun after inspiring his side Izhstal Izhevsk to a 3-2 victory against rivals Chelmet.
The 23-year-old was awarded the assault rifle by his team's captain after he being voted player of the match by his team-mates.
The city of Izhevsk (where the team is based) is famous for its production of the weapons, so it almost makes sense for the hockey player to receive one.
Russian Goalie, Saveli Kononov, received an AK-47 after being named player of the game by his teammates - WTF pic.twitter.com/2tVFskX3Ou
- HockeyTroll.ca (@Hockeytroll_ca) September 11, 2019
As translated by the BBC, head coach Ramil Saifullin told the squad: "Lads, today we too are introducing a tradition.
"As we live in an arms manufacturing city, the city of the Kalashnikov, every match you will for yourselves name the best player, and the previous [recipient] will hand it over to him."
He then invited the captain to name the first player who would be bestowed with the honour of receiving the gun.
"Can we fire it?" the captain asked jokingly, before handing it to the goalkeeper Savely Kononov as his teammates applauded.
"Congratulations on the win, but if we play poorly we will be shot with it," Kononov said as the players laughed and clapped.
"How do we take it to away matches?" one asked.
"We will figure it out. We will carry a wooden model," the coach replied.
It's the latest example of hockey teams handing out weird and wonderful awards to their team players. NHL teams have been known to give out bizarre gifts, making it a bit of a custom through the game.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a wood-chopping axe as their prize, after changing from the gist of a fireman's helmet. They carry the tool around with them from game to game.
The New York Rangers have also joined in the tradition, but they have a slightly less threatening award - as in, you wouldn't be able to easily injure anyone with it.
The team pass around a fedora called the Broadway Hat to their best player from each victory. It's also worn for post-game interviews and nowhere else - a tradition that they believe has brought them luck.