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MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. An extended roster of the Russian national team for the 2016 IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship, to be hosted by Russia this month, combines players’ experience and youth, Vladislav Tretiak, the president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RHF), said on Wednesday.
Russia announced on Wednesday its extended roster for the global championship comtaining 28 names. The final roster will be containing 21 names with four spots on the list reserved for players currently competing in NHL’s playoffs.
"We have tried to enlist the best, who are medically fit for today," Tretiak said. "We have combined the experienced and the young. The most important now is to form the lines. We have professional coaches, who are responsible for that."
"The most important for the team is to make it into the final," Russia’s legendary ex-goaltender said. "We must show the good hockey, which our fans love so much. It will be difficult to play on home ice. Playing in front of home crowds is psychologically difficult."
"A local fan is always pushing you into the battle, while an opponent is always waiting how to win using counter-attacks," Tretiak said. "Fans are always forcing us to play more actively, but we need playing with cool heads. It is both easy and difficult playing home."
Winning silver at the 2016 IIHF World Championship will not be considered as a poor result of the national team.
"There were no victories at all for 15 years until 2007," Tretiak said. "Until that year our people got used to the fact that we were not one of the top teams. However, we won the 2008 and 2009 [World Championships]. So people now raise eyebrows over the fact that last year we finished with the silver. I believe that each medal is very valuable for an ice hockey player."
"The most important criteria of the game for me is when people throw themselves on the ice to block a puck, when they completely give themselves to hockey," Tretiak said. "The quarterfinal match will be one of the most important."
"Every team will be playing against us with double efforts. Beating the Russian team in front of the home crowds is the dream for each team," he said.
"I do not think that the silver would be a failure for us," Tretiak said. "Many think that we will win the silver? I do not think so. The team will be fighting, because our most important goal had been always to win."
The Russian national team will begin the global championship with the game against the Czech Republic on Friday, May 6, at 8:15 p.m. Moscow time (17:15 GMT).
The matches of the 2016 IIHF World Championship are scheduled to be held in the country’s capital of Moscow and in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg between May 6 and 22. The games of the global ice hockey tournament will be hosted by the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow and the Yubileiny Arena in St. Petersburg.
A total of 16 national teams, qualified to play in the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Championship, were divided into two groups. The 12,000-seat VTB Ice Palace in Moscow will host the matches of Group A, which comprise the teams from Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Kazakhstan.
The 6,000-seat Yubileiny Arena will see the matches of Group B teams, which are from Canada, Finland, the United States, Slovakia, Belarus, France, Germany and Hungary.
During the knock-out stage the stadiums in Moscow and St. Petersburg will each host two matches of the quarterfinals round, while both semifinals, the match for the third place and the final are scheduled to be held at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow.
This will be the 7th IIHF World Championship held in Russia as it was hosted by Moscow five times, namely in 1957, 1973, 1979, 1986 and 2007, and once by St. Petersburg in 2000.