Just ahead of the KHL season, Medveščak's president Damir Gojanović...
Dear friends of the club!
There are just under 24 hours left until the big game in which our Medveščak enters the KHL! This game is the start of a new era for us, one in which we become part of a sports family that we've dreamt about for decades. This is a moment in which I personally have a very hard time separating emotions from reason because in less than 24 hours, in a game against our new sports friends from Russia, we will celebrate our monumental entry into a society above which there is nothing bigger for us.
Over the past four seasons we've achieved things together that others haven't and couldn't do in way more seasons, and that we dream of everyday. From a club and sport that was on the margins of the sports scene, to the performance in the Slovenian Championship, past the big hockey awakening and development of the club in the regional EBEL, we've arrived at a historic moment; to the mighty KHL!
Of course, we've made it here together!
The people in my team and club who have been working extensively over the past two years on the project of bringing Medveščak to the KHL while at the same time building and leading the team through the regional EBEL league... All of the players, coaches, and staff who have been developing our club behind the scenes and proudly wearing Medveščak's logo on their chests… Few of them are still with us, but we are and wish to remain friends for life with them. I know, we will remember some separations, some nice and some less nice moments, but I'll repeat – that's life! This project has been developed together with the media who have shown us support through their reports and by delivering our messages to others. The Croatian Hockey Association has been by our side from day one. From day to day we try to do more, which we proved with our work on the national representation and moving into the range of bigger and better. Their help was crucial on the road to this big moment just as it was when we headed away from EBEL. Of course, their trust in us and our project always has and always will mean a lot to us. Ahead of us, the club and the Association, and ahead of Croatian hockey, we can only see better days. Of course, there are also our sponsors and partners without whose belief this project definitely wouldn't exist today. More often than not, it was exactly them who, because of their belief in what we're doing and what we've achieved so far, risked all of their professional plans were a little rebellious in their answer to the often raised question 'does hockey even exist in Croatia?'. Together we've shown that it does!
Without the mayor and city hall it would be hard to imagine this project today! I remember the first moment when I approached the mayor to present Medvescak, back when most people were closing their doors to us and hanging up the phone because 'hockey didn't exist in Zagreb'. After just a few minutes of discussion about our ideas we quickly found a friend in him who believes in our plan. That is why I believe that tomorrow the city of Zagreb is going to celebrate our new historic day with us!
There is one person who has crossed my mind often in these past few days; the big president, big lover of sports, and great mind - Ferdo Spajić. The president from whom I took over this club, the man whose courage and love for this club I remember everyday, and the man from whom I have learned so much. Back then, in his time, I didn't even consider that I could be in his position one day, at the head of the club, but clearly fate wanted it that way. I like to believe that it was him who influenced that fate and it is for that reason that I believe in this project and hope that our club lives on forever just as the memory of Ferdo does in our club.
Of course, at this moment we owe a big thank you to our friends in Russia as well. Thank you to our friends in the Kontinental Hockey League, along with the league's president Aleksander Medvedev without whose belief in this project tonight wouldn't be our new birthday!
I purposely wanted to mention the fans at the end. Together with you, our fans, we've show the world how to celebrate your team and have proven countless times that Croatia has a true sports public. And honestly, without thinking twice about it, I firmly stand behind it when I say that without that mutual respect, without fair play in our stands and our friendly relationship none of this would exist today!
A few months ago I said that I would believe that all of this is real once the primary team lands in Zagreb. The team is in Zagreb! That means that this is no longer a dream, and the 'mighty KHL in Zagreb' and 'Medveščak in the mighty KHL' are becoming our sports reality. It is up to us now to maximize the club's benefits by making the most of the opportunities that are presented to us. I honestly hope and believe that we will have your strong support throughout the days of the season that lies ahead of us. What I can guarantee is that all of you will continue to have us as true friends who hold the club in first place. Of course, maybe you will think that some of the decisions we will make throughout this season are wrong, but believe us that the decisions we make are done for the reason that in some situations, if we want this club to succeed, emotions sometimes have to be left on the sidelines.
Dear friends, I believe in your support because little people exist to do big things. We really are little people, but together we have achieved something great.
Thank you for your support and all of the wonderful moments. I wish you a happy, sportsmanlike, and successful season in which only the best will win!
Until tomorrow in the Ice Hall!
Damir Gojanović, President
KHL MEDVEŠČAK Zagreb
Zagreb, 5 September 2013.