Ever craving victories

<img class="imgl" alt="" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-414.jpg">[b]With the Ice Hockey World Championship around the corner, our red-clad squad is ready to enter Minsk-Arena, with hopes of smashing their rivals, however great the challenge. On the threshold of the tournament, we present those hockey players playing significant roles within our team.[/b]<br />At the beginning of the year, nostalgic hockey fans were delighted to hear that Andrey Mezin — who first played for the national team in 1996 — was joining the ranks of the squad once more, on release from Omsk’s Avangard. In 2013, he was recorded as the oldest goalkeeper in the Continental Hockey League who had let not a single goal past. He last played for the national team in May 2012 and explains that the return of coach Glen Hanlon inspired his desire to play his part. He tells us, “I won’t conceal that Glen’s comeback influenced my decision. Perhaps I’m here thanks to him. We must all concentrate on the game, with fans acting in support, as the sixth skater. Of course, the World Championship is not street hockey; fans expect a certain level of play — which brings psychological pressure. We’ll strain every sinew to play our best.”
With the Ice Hockey World Championship around the corner, our red-clad squad is ready to enter Minsk-Arena, with hopes of smashing their rivals, however great the challenge. On the threshold of the tournament, we present those hockey players playing significant roles within our team.

At the beginning of the year, nostalgic hockey fans were delighted to hear that Andrey Mezin — who first played for the national team in 1996 — was joining the ranks of the squad once more, on release from Omsk’s Avangard. In 2013, he was recorded as the oldest goalkeeper in the Continental Hockey League who had let not a single goal past. He last played for the national team in May 2012 and explains that the return of coach Glen Hanlon inspired his desire to play his part. He tells us, “I won’t conceal that Glen’s comeback influenced my decision. Perhaps I’m here thanks to him. We must all concentrate on the game, with fans acting in support, as the sixth skater. Of course, the World Championship is not street hockey; fans expect a certain level of play — which brings psychological pressure. We’ll strain every sinew to play our best.”
Other experienced goalkeepers on the squad are Vitaly Koval from Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) and Kevin Laland and Dmitry Milchakov from Dinamo (Minsk): with four fantastic hockey players, it’s no easy choice for the coach. Minsk’s Dinamo players are mostly in defence: Andrey Filichkin and Ivan Usenko. Ilya Kaznadey and his teammate Artur Gavrus are obliged to stand down, due to injury, making room for Sergey Stas (who returns after a ten year break from defending the national squad). Around the same age as Andrey Mezin, Sergey has a lot of experience, playing in various USA and German leagues, as well as for ‘Gomel’. Glen Hanlon views him as one of the best defensemen in the Belarusian Extra League. He’ll be playing alongside his brother, Andrey from Dinamo: 14 years his junior. The team also boasts Vladimir Denisov, of Torpedo, who is keen on bikes, and talented players such as Vladimir Denisov, Alexey Kalyuzhny, Konstantin Koltsov, and brothers Andrey and Sergey Kostitsyn.
The Kostitsyn brothers are capable of keeping rivals on their toes, regardless of Andrey Kostitsyn’s absence from recent matches with Chelyabinsk’s Traktor. Having scored 103 goals across 398 National Hockey League matches, his experience is just what our team needs.
Meanwhile, forward Yegor Voronov is joining the national squad for the first time. Aged just 20, he’s been playing alongside Andrey in the NHL, and in the Youth Hockey League, for Dinamo-Shinnik. Now, he’s sharing a locker-room with his icons. It must seem like a dream come true! Yegor confesses, “I want to show my worth within the team. My father always inspires me by saying: ‘Go for it! Everything depends on you. Prove yourself!’ You’ve a limited number of chances, so use them! As the championship is being held in Minsk, we have the advantage of playing at home. Our relatives and fans can come to our matches.”
While Voronov is hockey’s ‘tomorrow’, much is expected of experienced forward Alexey Kalyuzhny. He smiles down from posters in Minsk, but has missed some training, due to injury. However, having twice played for Russia’s champion team — Magnitogorsk’s Metallurg — his place on the squad is assured, as is that of Konstantin Koltsov, who plays for Atlant. Andrey Stepanov, currently with Khabarovsk’s Amur (and having played for Minsk’s Yunost previously) and Alexey Ugarov, who plays for Vladivostok’s Admiral, are also strong players in attack. Stepanov tells us, “It is wonderful that the current championship is taking place in Belarus. Everyone will see us, so we want to do all we can to demonstrate good hockey. Just because our rivals may arrive without their leaders doesn’t mean anything, since squads from Sweden, Canada, the USA, and Russia could create three teams of equal talent for the Olympics and for the World Championship. Everything depends on us.”
“The World Championship in Belarus is a festival for fans and for hockey players,” adds Alexey Ugarov. “As we move closer to the time of the championship, we’re realising this more. I’m sure that it will be one of the best championships, because of its atmosphere and organisation. I know our managers well.”
It’s still unknown whether Mikhail Grabovski (our only current representative in the NHL) will return to play for the national team, since he is committed to the Washington Capitals for the time being. However, the Belarusian squad features several players from the KHL and from the home championship. It matters not who plays first and who remains on the substitutes’ bench, as long as the team is solid.

by Taras Shchiry
Заметили ошибку? Пожалуйста, выделите её и нажмите Ctrl+Enter
Версия для печати
Заполните форму или Авторизуйтесь
 
*
 
 
 
*
 
Написать сообщение …Загрузить файлы?
Новости
Все новости