Minsk preparing to host 2018 Olympic ice hockey qualifying tournament

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Minsk preparing to host 2018 Olympic ice hockey qualifying tournament

Minsk has again became the capital of the ice hockey world. For the first time Belarus will host the final round of the Olympic qualification. Participants have already come to the Belarus capital to contest one ticket for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Belarus will compete in one group against Poland, Slovenia and Denmark. Only the group winner will get a ticket to the 2018 Olympics.

Ice hockey players will start pre-match training today. Competitions are expected to be very hot. Matches will be held from 1 to 4 September at the ice complex Minsk-Arena.

Mikhail Zakharov, head coach of HC Yunost Minsk:
Opponents are difficult, but, you know, the fact that it takes place in Minsk is a huge bonus. Moreover, I think there will be capacity crowd. In almost all cases, hosts of such competitions won their groups and tickets to Olympics.

Dmitry Baskov, director of a Minsk ice hockey academy:
Each player, going out on the ice, no matter how much time he gets on the ice, will do his utmost to defend the colors of his flag. Belarus should show that we are among the strongest nations in Europe.

Preparing for the matches, Belarus took part in the Cup of Three Nations, winning against Germany and France and taking first place.