Minsk lives by hockey

The World Championship has changed the city, touching even those corners of life which are far from sport
By Dmitry Komashko

The World Championship has changed the city, touching even those corners of life which are far from sport


It seems that it is possible not only to watch hockey. It is also possible to feel it. To live each second and, together with the players, go through the whole kaleidoscope of emotions. This has been proved by fans of Russia and Latvia. Famous British football ultras can envy those performances, which these two armies arrange at the matches of their teams. However, hockey fans avoid fighting and hooliganism. Instead, they create an atmosphere which is difficult to describe in words. One can only feel it. And every person who is not indifferent to hockey should do this at least once.


Minsk never sleeps. During these May days, this phrase can be fully applied to the Belarusian capital. Cheerful, near-hockey life moves from hospitality zones to arenas and back, but apparently, it does not calm down for a minute. Sometimes it is no less interesting to observe this, than to watch the events unfolding on the ice. And this interest is mutual. While townspeople examine multi-coloured flags, improbable suits and the war paint of fans with surprise, they in turn, study the unknown country for themselves. They share impressions. About the roads — that surprised fans from neighbouring Latvia, with their lack of potholes and the presence of traffic lane markings, about the cleanliness of the streets and the affability of the Minsk residents, about the creativity of the organisers who, caring about the spectators, surpassed the majority of previous championships, admitted habituйs of hockey tournaments. “The first thing that is evident is the beauty of the city. The second is the friendliness of the people and their readiness to help,” said fans from Switzerland. “Certainly it is impossible to travel across the whole of Belarus in just a few days, but we will try,” hockey self-driving tourists from Russia agree with them. Certainly, it is impossible, but there will be a cause to return here once again!


Big hockey has influenced the life of Minsk residents, and not only those of them who are involved in the service of the tournament. A lot has been already said about the crews of traffic police spending nights in cars, and about yard cleaners keeping the round-the-clock watch. But there were no problems with aggressive visitors, or with garbage. Drivers of public transport dressed in strict vests and shirts, polite vendors and smiling waiters please the eye... It would be wonderful if they preserved the habit of smiling even after the World Championship!

Fans like everything in Minsk


A lot of people — a lot of problems. Everyone who has ever tried to organise and carry out a really serious activity knows about that. And the Ice Hockey World Championship is not an exception. Teams and VIP-guests, fans and journalists — all have arrived with their own needs, desires and requirements. And to please them all is a serious test for all who involved in carrying out of the championship of services. The example of the Sochi Olympic Games, the reverse side of which at once found reflexion on the Internet, has demonstrated that this mixed and critical army at once and mercilessly finds weak points of organisation. It is important to note, that there were no serious failures in Minsk, though at the beginning many people were afraid to go to Belarus. They also gossiped about the Internet. Whether it is expensive? Accessible? Whether it will provide all tourists with traffic? And it has provided! Irina Vysotskaya and Vladislav Vysotsky from Bryansk, who we met in the fan-zone, offered a standard fans story about the cleanliness and beauty of Minsk, also complimented the World Wide Web.
“Being at such competitions you always want to be online, and Belarus in this sense pleases us. It is no problem to find Internet access. The speed enables to learn the news, and to send our photos home.”

And there is no lack of things to send.
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