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Putin gets unique hockey stick gift

The Russian leader first appeared on the ice, playing hockey in 2012, just several hours after his inauguration and it was as part of the traditional Night Ice Hockey League

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. The Club of Leaders of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) has presented President Vladimir Putin with an ice hockey stick made of composite materials and decorated with inscription ‘Russia’ and the national state emblem.

On Tuesday, the Russian president visited the Club of Leaders’ stand for promoting the ASI’s business initiatives at the exhibition dedicated to the meeting of the ASI Supervisory Board.

Director of the "New Business" Division of ASI Artem Avetisyan briefed the Russian leader on the production of composite ice hockey sticks made of carbon fiber and fiberglass.

The stand displayed a set of ice hockey sticks dedicated to Russian weapons and correspondingly labeled S-400, AK-47, and T-90. Putin set his eyes on an ice hockey stick with the inscription of ‘Russia’ on it.

"I believe you have already played using this model," Avetisyan said and the Russian president nodded in approval.

The composite ice hockey sticks at the stand were made with the participation of professional players. In line with the plans for 2019, the company is set to manufacture some 70,000 ice hockey sticks to occupy at least 15% of the Russian market.

The price of these ice hockey sticks, according to the plan, must be 20%-40% lower than foreign analogues. The plans also envisage the export of composite sports gear to Germany, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and other countries.

Putin stated earlier that he is practicing sports for two or two and a half hours daily adding, "It is not as often as I’d like it to be, but I do play ice hockey."

The Russian leader first appeared on the ice, playing hockey in 2012, just several hours after his inauguration and it was as part of the traditional Night Ice Hockey League. 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 on Moscow’s Red Square Putin scored an opening goal that led his team to 14-10 win over the opponents.

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.