Belarus President attends opening of 10th Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament
The tenth jubilee international Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament for the Belarus President prize is particularly important in view of the forthcoming world ice hockey championship that will take place in Minsk. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement at the opening of the Christmas tournament on 3 January.
“We think the jubilee tournament is important also because it is kind of an exam before the world ice hockey championship in Minsk. The entire country is getting ready for the large-scale event during the Year of Hospitality,” stressed the President.
The head of state congratulated those present on the new year 2014 that will be saturated with global-scale sport events. “It is deeply symbolical that we begin it with a unique competition — the international Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament. I am convinced that our hockey teams will show their skills and set the mood for other forthcoming sport competitions,” he said.
The Belarusian leader said he was grateful to permanent participants of the championship and welcomed the debutant — the team of France.
“Today our tournament is celebrating a jubilee. I remember that when we gathered eight teams ten years ago for the first time, we hoped that our endeavor will live and will earn recognition of the society. Now we see it has gained strength, has become a tradition, and has earned a reputation of an unofficial world amateur ice hockey championship,” noted the President.
The head of state said that the number of participants had increased and this year’s tournament has gathered 12 teams. The number of sport venues hosting the event has increased as well. Thus, the teams of Austria, Russia, Czechia, and Switzerland will have to try the ice in the new sport complex Chizhovka Arena. Besides, the tension of the competition and the interest in them have increased. “More and more often we hear people asking about extra tickets. It is worth respect. It is what the international tournament was created to achieve,” said the President.
Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that the unchanging noble purpose of the tournament is to popularize ice hockey, to encourage people to lead a healthy life style. “We highly value sport because it brings people closer, helps us understand each other better. It is a form of grassroots diplomacy that opens new ways to cooperate between totally different countries,” noted the head of state.
The President wished vivid impressions from the games to guests and fans. He wished lucky and productive matches to participants of the tournament.
In conclusion the head of state declared the tenth jubilee international Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament for the Belarus President prize open.