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SOCHI, May 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin took to the rink at Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome to play a Night Hockey League match on Wednesday afternoon.
Путин вышел на лед: президент играет в хоккей в составе "Сборной легенд" в Гала-матче Ночной лиги pic.twitter.com/zlx4IlmpL0— Дмитрий Смирнов (@dimsmirnov175) 10 May 2017
Putin’s teammates are Defense chief Sergey Shoigu, Olympic champs Vyacheslav Fetisov, Aleksey Kasatonov, Valery Kamensky, Pavel Bure and others. The Tula Region’s governor Aleksey Dyumin is playing goalie. Putin is wearing his customary red hockey jersey, sporting number 11.
Playing for the opponents - the Night Hockey League’s combined team - are the owner of the Volga Group, Gennady Timchenko, Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin and co-owner of the SMP-Bank and member of its board of directors Roman Rottenberg.
The Night Hockey League was founded at Putin’s initiative several years ago. Ice hockey devotees started gathering at sports stadiums during their spare time, usually late in the evening (hence the league’s name) to play their favorite game just for pleasure. Renowned Soviet and Russian hockey stars joined the initiative to help arrange for regular competitions involving amateur teams across Russia in a national tournament.
The first Night Hockey League gala match took place in Moscow on May 7, 2012. Putin played then, too, just several hours after his presidential inauguration in the Kremlin.