Players gearing up for 2018 Christmas ice hockey tournament in Minsk


Players gearing up for 2018 Christmas ice hockey tournament in Minsk

Minsk is in anticipation of big hockey. The Christmas International tournament for the prize of the President of Belarus will begin today.

Most of teams arrived January 3. Athletes from 15 countries will take part in the competition. There will be debutants too. China will take part in the competition for the first time.

Fans are also coming. To cross the Belarusian border, they do not need a visa in their passports. The Christmas tournament will be held in Belarus for the 14th time.

Hockey player:
Yes, we have a lot of things. Here all the necessary sports equipment, we'll put it on in the evening, we have planned training, and tomorrow is a game, we have a very difficult group. By the way, last year the atmosphere was so great that it could be compared to a real World Championship.

Mr. Dragovic plays for the Balkans, perhaps the most international team. The team has brought together eight states at once.

Ice hockey players:
You know, I was here at the 2017 tournament and this is why I came back again. I really liked the organization, and we had a wonderful time playing in Belarus.

This is my first time in Belarus. I am very encouraged by the invitation to participate in this tournament. Members of our team have already been here, they remained under great impression. We hope to win.

China, despite being debutants, are already counting on a high result.

Ice hockey players:
I play hockey and heard about the Christmas tournament from President Lukashenko who came to Beijing and talked about it. I am very happy for the first time to become a party to this championship.

We will do our best to show a decent game.

Yana Shipko, CTV:
The atmosphere here is so amazing! We are on the ice together with the hockey players. The tournament is amateurish after all.    

In the Emirates, ice hockey is no longer exotic. The skill of local players is growing every year. In this team the majority of players are professionals and, by the way, they are coached by a Belarusian.  

Said Alnuaimi, player of the UAE team:
I like Belarus, Minsk, people, I'm here for the fourth time. We are pleased to be able to play this tournament with hockey players of this high class. In our country hockey is loved, despite the constant summer. And we can only take an example from Belarus, how much this sport is developed here.

We also talked with Swedish goaltender Nicholas. Sweden has already felt the friendly atmosphere of the tournament despite having arrived in Minsk only a few hours ago.

Nicolas Lilia, player of the Sweden team:
I am here for the first time and I am very glad to be invited to come here and represent our country. We have heard that the Belarusian team is very strong. But, apart from the game, I cannot wait to get acquainted with your city.

The Swiss have taken part in every tournament since its inception and on January 4 they will open the competition with a match vs debutants China.

Martin Kristen, Swiss service team:
Belarus is a sporting nation and besides hockey, we know about successes in tennis. And it's great.

For the first time the "Golden Puck" competition for kids will be held simultaneously with the Christmas tournament. So ice hockey will bring together not only different nations, but also different ages.