MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. A pre-New Year gala ice hockey match on Moscow’s iconic Red Square with the participation on Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet been planned, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday.
"We’ll see, it has not yet been planned," the spokesman said at the ceremony to unveil the Red Square skating rink.
"Normally, it [the game] is organized within quite a short timeframe in the run-up to the New Year. We have not planned it yet, but this cannot be ruled out," Peskov continued, adding that this open-air event will be "fairly safe" from the epidemiological point of view if organized with "certain precautions."
On December 25, 2020, the team of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu won 8:5 in a Night Hockey League match played on the Red Square. Putin scored more than half of his team’s goals.
The Russian leader wore his customary red ice hockey jersey, sporting number 11. Putin’s team included Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, as well as legendary veterans and former NHL stars: Pavel Bure, Valeri Kamensky, Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Kasatonov and others. Their opponents, wearing white jerseys, include Tula governor Alexei Dyumin, businessmen Gennady Timchenko, Vladimir Potanin and Roman Rotenberg, jazz saxophonist Igor Butman, Moscow Region governor Andrei Vorobyev and others.
The Night Ice Hockey League was established at Putin’s initiative several years ago. Hockey enthusiasts 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 fun. Renowned Soviet and Russian hockey stars joined the initiative to help arrange for regular bouts involving amateur teams across Russia in a national tournament.
The Russian leader first appeared on the ice playing hockey in 2012, just several hours after his inauguration. He has played regularly since then at this annual event, and during the most recent match of the Night Ice Hockey League on December 29, 2018, on Moscow’s Red Square Putin scored an opening goal that led his team to 14-10 win over the opponents.