Posted: 01.11.2023 18:41:00

Warm greetings

Belarusian hockey is progressing and developing, despite the international ban

Still, it’s a pity that the Belarusian national hockey team was removed from the international calendar by arrogant political mugs who call themselves sports officials and still continue to puff out their cheeks with pretentiousness, declaring that the time for a return has not yet come. Otherwise, our brave ice guys, whose level of play over the last couple of years has become significantly higher, would have kicked them in these very faces and cheeks.

Ilya Solovyov is the 15th Belarusian hockey player in the NHL

An amazingly talented generation of players has grown up in Belarusian hockey, and an equally promising generation is still growing. If only we could gather them all together, put together a squad and send them to the World Cup under the flag of their native country! There is a complete feeling that this amazing team could easily fight for a place in the top five. The fact that our hockey does not stand still, but continues to develop even in the conditions of harsh sanctions, was reminded yesterday by another significant event: another compatriot made his debut in the National Hockey League, which is rightfully considered the strongest in the world: defender Ilya Solovyov played for Calgary Flames and, despite the defeat of his team, was one of the best on the ice.
Before the international ban, which was imposed on our country by the scoundrels from the IIHF, the country’s youth team, let us remind you, gave fire at the World Championships. In 2019, in Sweden, in the group stage, they defeated the Czech Republic and Finland with the same score of 4:3 and took second place in their pool, also ahead of the Swiss, and behind only Canada. Vitaly Pinchuk, Alexei Kolosov, Ilya Usov are those who shone on the ice then and now, despite their youth, have grown into real masters. In 2018, in Chelyabinsk, Belarusian youths also made a loud statement, defeating the Swiss team and giving a real fight to the Swedes and Finns. It was from that galaxy that Ilya Solovyov grew up, who has now reached the NHL. The leaders of that team were also other personalities who today forge the glory of Belarusian hockey: Vladislav Kolyachonok, Vladimir Alistrov and Aliaksei Protas. There is no doubt that the current composition of the youthful Belarusian squad would create a decent stir at the world forum. This can be asserted based at least on the simple fact that at the last NHL draft a record number of talents from Belarus were selected — six young hockey talents of the country were eyed by overseas giants: Yegor Sidorov, Vadim Moroz, Andrei Loshko, Daniil Karpovich, Stepan Zvyagin and Egor Rimashevsky have a real chance in the near future to increase the number of our permanent representatives in the NHL. Just like many other guys playing in the junior leagues of America, in the AHL championship, as well as in our parts — in the KHL and IHL championships, where there are also very, very rich in extraordinary virtuosos of the game.
Let’s return, however, to Ilya Solovyov, who became the 15th Belarusian to play in the NHL. The 23-year-old defenseman made his debut in a Calgary uniform in a home match with St. Louis, wearing number 98. A native of Mogilev spent 16:34 minutes on the ice (including 0:08 in the power play and 0:56 in the minority), made 1 shot and blocked the same number, received a 2-minute penalty and earned a utility rating of ‘0’. Another noteworthy point is that Yegor Sharangovich also played for Calgary (213th match in the league) — this is the first time since May 7th, 2012, when two Belarusian players took to the same ice for the same team (then brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn as part of the Nashville Predators fought against the Phoenix Coyotes).
Yegor Sharangovich’s accurate shot did not help Calgary in the game with Detroit

Before Solovyov, we recall that the following players played in the NHL: Ruslan Salei (978 matches), Mikhail Grabovski (544), Andrei Kostitsyn (447), Sergei Kostitsyn (393), Vladimir Tsyplakov (349), Yegor Sharangovich (213), Konstantin Koltsov (144), Aliaksei Protas, (96), Oleg Mikulchik (37), Vladislav Kolyachonok (34), Dmitry Korobov (3), Maxim Sushko (2), Alexander Andrievsky (1) and Roman Graborenko (1).

Washington Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas in attack     USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, Yegor Sharangovich made his NHL debut in early January 2021. Before him, there had been no Belarusians on the ice of the World Premier League for almost five years (since March 15th, 2016, when Mikhail Grabovski played the last match overseas). Progress, as they say, is obvious: since then, among the strongest hockey players on the planet, in addition to Yegor, Aliaksei Protas, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Maxim Sushko and now Ilya Solovyov have played. Who is next?

By Sergei Kanashits