Everything is hockey for fans!
Fans from different countries started to arrive at the sports arenas before the first matches of the Ice Hockey World Championship. They were ready to queue for hours in order to have enough time to fill their places and to fully feel the atmosphere of the hockey holiday
By Tatiana Pastushenko
At the fan-zone near the Minsk-Arena, three hours remained to the starting whistle of the Russia-Switzerland match the fans shared their first impressions about Minsk. A group of Swiss tourists who were wrapped up in national flags, discussed the quality of the hotels and the hearty welcome of the hosts of the championship, “We are staying in Yubileinaya Hotel which is located in the very centre of the city. We have a beautiful view from our windows! It is convenient to reach the arena. At a restaurant we were offered ethnic cuisine dishes. It was very tasty. We will stay in Belarus until almost the end of the championship, therefore we have enough time to learn and try everything that we have been told by people who have already visited your country.”
Perhaps there are more Russian fans in Minsk than any others, and they come from the most different corners of that country. Some were happy to travel thousands of kilometres to support their national team at the world tournament. One fan is Nikita Dezhnev, who flew to Minsk from Surgut, “There are more than 4 thousand kilometres between our cities, but I did not have to spend money for accommodation as I am staying with my relatives. I immediately bought the whole package of tickets for all Russian national team matches. I have arrived several days ago, but, to tell the truth, I have not had any time to look around the city. My relatives have arranged an excursion across the Nieman River. The main thing for me is to support the national team. Certainly, I also support Belarusians. I know that Minsk Dinamo plays in the KHL and that you have strong players. And I also know that your national team is capable of creating a miracle, having beaten even the recognised favourite before. Remember, how your Kopot scored against the Swedes?”
Many fans, planning a trip to the championship in Minsk, have thought about their own excursion routes.
“We have arrived by car, therefore we can travel across the country,” says Konstantin Frolov from the Rostov Region. “We understand that it is impossible to go round the whole of Belarus during these few days, but nevertheless, we would like to see cities and places which have special value for our general history, for example, the Brest Fortress, Khatyn, and probably, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha.”
In the zone of expectation
Fans can spend their hours waiting in the fan-zones in comfort: they are able to play table hockey, to eat or simply to relax to the music. They can also stock up on souvenirs. I noted that fans were happily buying many products with Belarusian images - Flags, signs and T-shirts. The prices are quite acceptable. I asked about the price of a plushie championship mascot Volat the bison. As the first minutes of trading showed, it is in great demand. I think I will have to buy one!
In the spotlight
Fans from 115 countries can follow the World Championship in Minsk in on TV and from any spot of the globe through the Internet. 20 cameras will be installed around the hockey platform at each match, and among them is an ultrahigh-speed camera, an in-goal camera one over the central circle. The HDTV-signal is provided, edited and transferred by means of two broadcast-minibuses, with the support of an additional eight trucks filled with equipment, located near both Minsk arenas. For the first time in the history of the World Championships, the signal from the tournament will be received in Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Georgia. In 2013, the aggregate television audience of the World Championship reached 975,150,000 people.