Opening of 12th Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament
On 4 January Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the opening ceremony of the 12th Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament for the Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus in Chizhovka Arena.
A new sport year begins in Belarus with the unique competition. For the twelfth time Minsk has welcomed participants and fans of the Christmas Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament. “These competitions have already become kind of a hallmark of Belarus. They have become widely popular in many countries. They have become an unofficial world ice hockey championship for amateur teams,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The current tournament has gathered teams from Belarus, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Slovakia, Finland, Switzerland, and Sweden. “None of the teams is a novice. They have already tried themselves out on the ice in Minsk. These teams comprise famous players that used to shine during competitions of the highest caliber. We are very pleased to once again welcome them,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the serious sport component, the spirit of a true fight and the continuity between professional sport and the popular variety as characterizing traits of the Belarusian tournament. “The main purpose of these amateur games is to primarily bolster friendly relations between the participating states. It is said that sport is the best form of people's diplomacy!” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was confident that the current tournament will become a bright and captivating show as well as a school for hundreds of young athletes. The head of state wished a Happy New Year and a Happy Christmas to participants of the tournament and the fans. The President wished joyous emotions to all the spectators. He also wished successful, honest, and productive games to the teams. “May the strongest one win!” added Aleksandr Lukashenko. In conclusion the head of state declared the tournament open.
Besides, the Belarus President’s team faced the team of Switzerland in the opener on 4 January.