Opening of 14th Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament

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High-performance accomplishments of Belarusian athletes stem from the solid foundation made of youth sport and grassroots sport. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during the ceremony held on 4 January to open the 14th Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament and the national children and youth ice hockey tournament Golden Puck for prizes of the Belarus President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that starting a new sport year with the Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament had become a good tradition in Belarus. “The tournament is distinguished by a serious sport component and the spirit of true fight. It also preserves the best traditions and the continuity of generations,” believes the head of state. “The accomplishments Belarusian athletes have secured in international arenas stem from the solid foundation of children sport, youth sport, and mass sport. Our tournament is no exception.”

The head of state noted that the joint organization of the Christmas tournament and the national ice hockey tournament for children and youth was a genuine gift for everyone. Young ice hockey fans will be doubly glad. They will be able to show their best spot qualities and the will to win in addition to appreciating the skills of experienced ice hockey players.

“The Christmas tournament gathers our good friends in Minsk every year. This year teams from Russia, Czechia, Switzerland, Sweden, the UAE, and a multinational team from the Balkans have come to Minsk,” continued Aleksandr Lukashenko. “I would like to welcome the team from the People’s Republic of China. It is the first time they have come to participate in the tournament. It is an excellent step of our Chinese colleagues, who are busy implementing a large-scale ice hockey development program in anticipation of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.”

The head of state said he hopes that after playing games in the UAE and then in China the Belarusian team had contributed to the development of ice hockey in the two countries.

The President also pointed out that for several years the tournament teams had taken an active part in the Christmas charity campaign for children, who are particularly in need of care and attention.

“I thank you for the warmth of your hearts that you share with our children. From the bottom of my heart I wish you a Happy New year and a Merry Christmas. These days participants and spectators will enjoy impressive ice hockey games, unforgettable emotions, pleasant revelations and surprises. May the strongest one win,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. “I have but one request: don’t judge us too harshly. Just like you we have our day jobs to do and ice hockey is our hobby that we turn to in our spare time. But we will try hard so that you would like it.”

The same day the team of the President of the Republic of Belarus defeated the team of the United Arab Emirates 12-7.