Aleksandr Lukashenko declares 9th Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament open
The International Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament has become a good tradition and a true celebration which begins a new sport year in Belarus. The statement was made by President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko at the opening ceremony of the 9th International Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament for the Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus on 4 January.
“It is such traditions that make Belarus particularly appealing, attract new friends, and bring nations closer. We see the popularity of our tournament rising. It has virtually become an unofficial world championship for amateur teams. This honorable status is particularly precious for us in view of the next year’s forthcoming world ice hockey championship, for which we are making thorough preparations,” the President noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was sincerely thankful for the famous hockey players, prizewinners of Olympic Games and other international competitions, who had come from Austria, Germany, Canada, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland to Minsk to participate in the tournament. “They are our old friends. It is not the first year they have come for the tournament and they have arrived in Belarus without seeking to profit and without being instructed to come here for the sake of celebrating Christmas together and showing what real ice hockey is all about,” stressed the head of state. Ice hockey fans will be able to see such great sportsmen as Vladimir Lutchenko, Vladimir Myshkin, and Valery Khomensky of Russia, famous European ice hockey players Konrad Dorn (Austria), Marian Smerciak (Slovakia), Stefan Herzog (Finland) and other ones.
The President remarked that the tournament is not just a meeting of ice hockey fans but a sport celebration for a large number of people. Moreover, it is held in the days of school vacations and becomes attractive not only for kids but their parents, too. The celebration unites families and advocates a healthy lifestyle.
Aleksandr Lukashenko wished vivid and unforgettable emotions to the viewers and successful and productive game to the tournament participants. He also congratulated everyone on New Year and Christmas and wished the tournament to become a good gift for these holidays.
In conclusion Aleksandr Lukashenko declared the 9th International Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament for the Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus open.
This year’s tournament has gathered amateur teams from Russia, Austria, Slovakia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Switzerland, and Belarus. At the preliminary stage the participants were divided into two groups. Group A includes the team of the President of Belarus and the teams from the Czech Republic, Canada and Switzerland. The four teams will compete in the Palace of Sports. Group B features the teams from Russia, Austria, Slovakia and Germany. Their matches will take place in the Ice Palace in Pritytskogo Street.
Once the matches inside the groups are over, the winners will compete for the top three positions in Minsk Arena on 7 January.
In the past the Belarus president team won the Christmas Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. The Russian team has won the tournament twice.