Posted: 17.04.2024 12:26:00

The team of firsts

Another season of the Republican Hockey League has become history — the President’s squad has once again won the main trophy

President's hockey team        belta

After the game, when the cup, medals and all individual prizes had already found their heroes, and the degree of emotional tension, although still hovering under the arches of the cosy Olympic Arena, no longer ignited the ice, head coach of the winners Dmitry Baskov willingly shared his impressions of the season and the final battle. Returning his thoughts to the most dramatic moment of the confrontation, when the scoreboard highlighted the sensational superiority of the Minsk Region team after the first period (4:3), he revealed that a serious conversation had taken place in the locker room. “I will not quote it verbatim but I think that after that talk, everyone realised the level of responsibility they must feel when going onto the ice against any opponent. Especially in the final. I will put it this way — in the team next to the First Person of the country, we must be the first only. We always have this task when stepping onto the ice in every match.”  
Defeats in the first meeting (2:5) put the hockey players of Minsk Region in a desperate situation — they needed only a victory in order to continue fighting in the series. The contenders for the title fought tenaciously to gain it and, to the delight of the audience that filled the arena stands to the limit, they did not give up until the last second. In the end, everything was decided by the second period, which the enthusiastic team of the President won hands down — 6:1. According to some views, that it was the best performance that the national team of the Head of State has demonstrated recently — unbelievable speeds, amazing motivation, intense fight at every section of the hockey rink. Everyone performed great, but forward Aleksei Shantyka was the one to come up big. He scored three goals in a row and was later recognised as the best player of the game. Aleksandr Lukashenko made a significant contribution to the team’s victory having scored a hat-trick of assists in the match. 

Yegor Yermalitsky

To the credit of the loser team, it should be noted that they fought like lions. When it might have seemed that the duel had exhausted the intrigue and the match was quietly rolling towards its natural outcome, the hockey players of Minsk Region surprised again — the final third of the match passed with their advantage. It was a true final and a battle between two really worthy opponents. However, the experience and skill were on the side of the President’s national team that clinched a bright and memorable victory in a scintillating manner with a total score of 10:8. “The championship turned out to be emotional,” Dmitry Baskov summed up the season. “We get older every year but our love for hockey does not decrease with time. The participants become stronger and younger, and the tournament acquires a new attractive flair. All the teams are motivated to beat the President’s squad, and we are excited about that.” By the way, after the award ceremony, Aleksandr Lukashenko presented his medal to the son of the Minsk Region national team player Yevgeny Leonov. The boy dreams of becoming a hockey player like his father and studies at the Dinamo Minsk school. Therefore, he will surely remember such a memorable gift from the hands of the President for the rest of his life and it will be the best incentive for him to conquer future peaks.   
Thus, another season of the Republican Hockey League has been consigned to history. The President’s team won the major trophy for the 15th time, while the bronze awards were granted to the hockey players of Grodno Region, who previously defeated the Brest Region team with a score of 6:3. The following players were recognised as the best in their positions: goalkeeper Maksim Shchepko (Minsk Region), defender Aleksandr Kovshik (Grodno Region), forward Artyom Karkotsky (President’s team), scorer Andrei Kostitsyn (31 points (15+16), President’s team).

We need this kind of hockey!


Some of the most active fans at the crowded Olympic Arena were guys from the Ivenets Boarding School for Children with Special Needs. These boys and girls know firsthand what real cool hockey is — they came to the Dinamo Minsk matches more than once, warmly welcomed our hockey players as guests at their school, and actively supported the President’s team in the Republican League playoff throughout the season. 
In March, they visited the Palace of Independence with an excursion and, of course, they could not miss out on the opportunity to visit the final hockey match for the trophy. After the game, they shared the joy of victory with the triumphants on the ice, imprinting in their hearts unforgettable emotions, numerous gifts and vivid joint photos for a long memory. 

By Sergei Kanashits