Phil Esposito: I support China at 2018 Christmas tournament in Belarus

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Phil Esposito: I support China at 2018 Christmas tournament in Belarus

Belarus for the 14th time hosts the Christmas Ice Hockey Tournament.

In 2018 representatives of 15 states came to participate in the ice battles. This is thanks to the fact that a unique team of the Balkans is taking part in the tournament. It brings together players from eight countries!

Belarus is traditionally represented by the team of the President. In their first game Belarus defeated the United Arab Emirates, the bronze medalists of the 2017 competition, 12:7.

Despite the results of the ice battles, the Christmas tournament unites peoples and nations. The President spoke about this in his address to the participants of the competition.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
The Christmas tournament in Minsk annually gathers our kind friends. In 2018, as you have already heard, ice hockey players from Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the multinational team of the Balkans came to us, especially we welcome the team of the People's Republic of China, which is participating for the first time in this tournament.

At one time many years ago, Belarus was the first who laid the foundation for the development of ice hockey in that hot country. Our hockey players worked there. It was the same in the People's Republic of China. We played there an exhibition match of the President of the Republic of Belarus vs the Chinese People's Republic. And, maybe, we laid that first grain in the People's Republic of China's hockey development. Recently, the whole Belarus was glad to hear the decision of the International Ice Hockey Federation to hold the World Championship in our country in 2021. It would have been impossible without those guys, official functionaries who came to us here for an international tournament. We managed to make the incredible thing - to receive the right to host the IIHF WM again. I thank everyone who came here and who helped us in this matter.

Christmas tournament is more than a sporting event. This year, the legendary Canadian hockey player, twice Stanley Cup winner and the best scorer in the super series against the USSR team in 1972 Phil Esposito came to Belarus' Minsk. Especially for the CTV Channel, he agreed for a small interview.

Olga Korshun, CTV:
Phil, tell me please how you like the Christmas tournament, what your emotions are. How was it?

Phil Esposito, winner of the Stanley Cup (Canada):
If I were a little younger, I would be happy to go out on the ice today in this fight. I should note the excellent shape of your President Alexander Lukashenko. Moreover, he scored his first puck today, from my favorite position. I also hit in the same manner.   

Olga Korshun:
Who is your personal favorite of today's tournament?

Phil Esposito:
I'm currently working with a Chinese club. So I should say I support the Chinese team. But the very possibility to watch this game is already a great pleasure.