SOCHI, May 10. /TASS/. The Hockey Legends team, with Russian President Vladimir Putin as playing, has won 13-9 in a gala match of the Night Hockey League in Sochi.
Putin was wearing his customary red hockey jersey, sporting number 11. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyev, jazz musician Igor Butman, celebrated Russian ice hockey players Viacheslav Fetisov, Pavel Bure, Alexei Kasatonov, Valeri Kamensky, Igor Larionov and others clashed in the friendly between Hockey Legends and a team of Night Hockey League.
President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel watched the match at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi along with a crowd of spectators.
Before the match, Putin addressed the fans, "I congratulate everyone on a fantastic anniversary, the tenth anniversary of the Night Hockey League."
He added that the League’s participants "make their lives brighter, more interesting, more beautiful, more meaningful." According to him, athletes "set a wonderful example for millions of other people" and "make their lives longer, more qualitative and meaningful."
The president thanked the ice hockey stars for taking part in a game appreciated by many millions.
Putin also welcomed Fasel in his address. They had held a bilateral meeting in Putin’s Sochi residence ‘Bocharov Ruchei’ before.
"Let me thank him for not only developing professional sport, but also for focusing his attention on amateur sport, in this case in Russia," the Russian leader added. For his part, Fasel, speaking in Russian, wished everyone "lots of luck."
Last time, Putin hit the ice in a friendly match of the Night Hockey League played at a skating rink on Red Square at the end of December 2019. The president has regularly played in Sochi gala matches of the Night Hockey League finals, with the latest held in May 2019. In 2020 the tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.
The Night Ice Hockey League was founded at Putin’s initiative on December 15, 2011. 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 regular competitions involving amateur teams across Russia in a national tournament.
The first Night Ice 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.