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Putin arrives at Minsk Arena to root for Russian ice hockey team

May 25, 2014, 22:24 UTC+3 MINSK
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MINSK, May 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at the Minsk Arena to watch the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship finals Russia-Finland.

The Russian and Finnish teams tested each other at the preliminary round in their Group B match on May 11, when the heated game in Minsk ended 4-2 in favor of the Russian squad.

At this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the Russian squad failed to clear the quarterfinals stage losing on its home ice 1-3 to Finland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Minsk to support the Russian ice hockey team in the finals of the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

At a meeting with heads of leading news agencies on Saturday, Putin said he watched matches played by the Russian team. He praised the Russian team, which had defeated Sweden in the semifinals 3:1. “Excellent result,” he said.

The Russian president is an amateur ice hockey player himself. On May 10, he took part in a gala match of the 3rd All-Russia Festival of Amateur Teams of the Night Ice Hockey League. In 2012, he took part in the closing ceremony of the first such festival.

Apart from that, the Russian president took part in a number of ice hockey games involving politicians. Thus, this January he took part in a game against Russian ice hockey stars in a team with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who hosts the current World Championship. In June 2012, the Russian president played ice hockey with Sauli Niinisto, the President of Finland, whose team will by Russia’s rivals in the finals.

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