The supporters of losing Gagarin Cup finalist Avangard Omsk are raising money to ensure the players get some silverware this season, the fan club leader told RIA Novosti on Monday.
The Cup of Fans' Hearts is a sign of affection from the fans; a message that their KHL campaign, tainted by a doping scandal, is worthy of accolades nonetheless.
Only $200 of the $7,600 cost of the trophy has been raised, said Marina Fesenko, the head of the club fans, but collections have only just begun.
"Many supporters have responded to our call," she told R-Sport.
Avangard was one game from victory in the best-of-seven Gagarin cup final series against Dynamo Moscow when defenseman Anton Belov was tested positive for a banned stimulant and withdrawn.
Dynamo won the next three straight to steal the title 4-3 in dramatic fashion. Later Avangard and Russia forward Alexander Perezhogin acknowledged in an interview to RIA Novosti that Belov's case was a big factor in Avangard's final defeat.
Fesenko said initiative dates back several years and came from local students.
"Later they approached the Avangard fans with this idea and now we are trying to embody it," Fesenko said.
The group hopes to present the cup to Avangard before its season-opener in September.