MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. The Russian national ice hockey team has strong players and will be fighting for the gold at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China’s Beijing, team’s Head Coach Alexei Zhamnov said on Monday.
At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, the Russian national ice hockey team played under the status of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) and eventually won the gold of the Olympics defeating Germany 4-3 in the sudden death overtime of the final match.
"Defending the champion’s title is always more difficult than winning it," Zhamnov said speaking at a news conference, hosted by TASS on Monday. "It will be hard to repeat the success, which we enjoyed in South Korea."
"The strongest players will be playing [in Beijing] and there will be no easy matches," he continued. "Just take a look at how many players from Switzerland and Germany are playing in the National Hockey League [NHL]. All matches will be tough."
"We need to uphold the fighting spirit in the course of 12 days in order to defeat any opponent," Zhamnov said. "We have strong players and this team can easily fight for the gold."
The ice hockey competition at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing will run between February 9 and 20. The team of Russian ice hockey players was seeded in Group B along with the squads from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Denmark. Team ROC (the Russian Olympic Committee) will play its Group B matches against Switzerland on February 9, Denmark — on February 11 and the Czech Republic — on February 12.
The national ice hockey federations had to announce at least three names of their players before October 8, who were set to travel to China for 2022 Winter Olympics. Eleven out of 12 national teams (except hosts China) already announced the names of their three selected players.
The press service of the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF) stated on October 8 that Russia’s NHL hockey stars Alexander Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevsky were the first players to enter the roster of their national team for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China.