President Lukashenko discusses situation in ice hockey with HC Dinamo Minsk staff


President Lukashenko discusses situation in ice hockey with HC Dinamo Minsk staff

Alexander Lukashenko demands spectacular and resultative ice hockey matches. The President met with players and coaching staff of the hockey club Dinamo Minsk on August 25, 2017.

Topical and inconvenient subjects were discussed at the meeting. Alexander Lukashenko had many times before said that he is not happy with the situation in this kind of sport.

Today Alexander Lukashenko has once again returned to the issue. Why did the President agree to appoint a foreigner as a coach? Will there be place for legionnaires in Belarusian ice hockey? And what does the new encouragement system for sportsmen involve?

Yevgeny Gorin, CTV:

The meeting of the President with the Dinamo Minsk team was planned a long time ago. However, due to understandable issues as economy and politics it was postponed.

Now it is the right time when changes in Belarusian ice hockey are taking place, from bonuses to the team relations.

About specific requirements

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:

Remember the most important thing. It concerns people from generals to club directors. The main link of the team is the coaches. The player and the coach, everything must turn around them. When you are training or in the changing room- it is a place for sportsmen and coaches only. If the coaches invite someone, they have the right to be on the ice or in the changing room. If only I find out that this steel rule is broken – the life of the functionary and the club worker will end here.

About player-coach relations

The relations between coaches and players must be equal.

Alexander Lukashenko:
To discuss the problems of the game together. You must do everything together; this is the essence of democracy in a team. However, the final decision is made by the coaching staff. If they can’t agree. Then the head coach takes all the responsibility. I don’t want you to have the principle “I am the chief and you are stupid”, it shouldn’t be like that.

About salaries

Money issues have been prioritized. From team financing to incentive payments for roll ins.

Alexander Lukashenko:
People will be getting silly amounts of money in the extra league. The main contracts and salaries will be in Dinamo and those, who play for the national team. The money there will be reasonable. The rest must get in the clubs as much as they earn, because sport is hard work if you want to live well and provide for your families. Not $19 thousand as some of the coaches had the previous season. We have what we have with the Belarusian ice hockey today. We are one step away from Russia, and as far as Space is from Canada and the USA. Therefore, just as in Canada and the USA, the players of the minor league will be getting small money, so that players have a motivation to be better - to win a place in Dinamo, in national teams (youth and main teams). Therefore, there will be no easy money any more. It does not mean that we will not be providing financial support. Because there were cases when sportsmen were unhappy with the fact that the National Olympic Committee was not allocating funds. It was my decision to stop allocating funds for trips, PR.

About foreign coach and legionnaires

The number of legionnaires will be reduced. The priority is Belarusian players and the development of the national school.

Alexander Lukashenko:
I did not like the idea of appointing a foreign coach very much. I will tell you a secret: when I was told about this wonderful person, the last argument I told Igor Shunevich was that if the coaching staff helps us to improve Belarusian ice hockey, direct it at the way ice hockey in Canada and the USA is developing, then I agree. If he demonstrates good results, we will leave him, I he will want to stay. And we will increase the salary. If he shows himself as a coach. If it doesn’t work out, then there will be only Belarusian coaches and only Belarusian players. We will have maximum of three-four legionnaires next year. This is my grim demand. We cannot pay money to anyone, to those, who do not play for the national team. Because the national team and Dinamo are the main things.

About the role of ice hockey

The President said that ice platforms for ice hockey teams will be free of charge. As a rule, the arenas are full of spectators; however, they want to see spectacular matches and are expecting victory. At least a real sports battle.

Alexander Lukashenko:
It is quite difficult to come up with ideological events unlike sport. Millions and billions of people watch sports competitions. And if a team wins, if it plays well, there will be no agitation among people whatsoever. Just like in the Soviet time, when they calculated the labor productivity after the victories of Soviet sportsmen. This is the essence of sport.

Conversation with the team

The meeting with the team turned out to be simple and trustworthy. The head coach thanked the President for support. The prospects of HC Dinamo Minsk were discussed as well.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Tell me, is it possible to build a team from these players in a short period of time?

Gordie Dwyer, head coach of HC Dinamo Minsk:
We have ice hockey players who are ready and are willing to play. We are ready to provide everything necessary for them, but everything depends on the player himself.

Alexander Lukashenko:
It means that not everything is alright then. Catch up then. It all depends on you, as it has turned out.

Vladimir Denisov, player of HC Dinamo Minsk:
I believe that our team has no indifferent people. Believe me, we have overcome a huge volume of work this summer and I believe that we will be showing worthy games.

Alexander Lukashenko:
So you think that a team can be made up out of these players?

Vladimir Denisov:
I believe in it.

Alexander Lukashenko:
I believe you. If you have no more questions, then there is no reason for me to keep you in here today anymore. Of course, I will not come to the game today. It is not that I do not have time; I am frightened to attend your matches just yet. Because I am frightened that my heart will stop when watching TV. However, I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Being on the ice, you must always feel that I am somewhere near, and I wish you to win. You can’t even imagine how involved I am into different kinds of sport, not only in ice hockey. I feel worried for you, just as I feel worried for my close ones, for my children. Therefore, you should know that I am always by your side, even if I am not at the stadium.

New Olympic uniform

The players presented souvenirs to the President. As the team was leaving, each of the players shook the President’s hand. HC Dinamo Minsk left to prepare for the match with HC Vityaz. The President was also demonstrated the new Olympic uniform.