The President of Russia thanked the hockey players, coaches, and the President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretyak for their enormous contribution to Russia’s victory in the 2012 hockey world championships. Members of the national hockey team were also awarded the title of Honoured Masters of Sports.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
On behalf of Russian fans and all sports-lovers, it is my great pleasure today to once again salute Russia’s national ice hockey team, to salute and congratulate you on your well-earned victory and express sincere gratitude for the way you played and the result that our entire nation witnessed.
Of course, this is not the first time that the Russian team wins the world championships. Moreover, we have won several times without letting our opponents score even one point. But what you did this time was truly exceptional. It was simply outstanding, the highest level of performance. You demonstrated everything: character, stamina, and talent – without a doubt, pure talent.
“I want to tell you that all of us, at least the people in my generation, have admired our hockey players since we were children, and you have given us another opportunity to do so.”
It makes me very happy that one of our players, Yevgeny Malkin, was not just chosen as the best NHL player of this year, but was also recognised as the Most Valuable Player at the world championships. Moreover, more than half of the team – half – played for the first time at this level and demonstrated their outstanding skills.
There are many more kick-offs ahead of us and ahead of you: the hockey world championships that will be held in our nation, as well as the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. I sincerely wish you success and want to say that all of us, all sports and hockey fans, are rooting for you.
I also want to congratulate our team of coaches. They have shown themselves to be truly remarkable. This was Zinetula Bilyaletdinov’s debut as head coach; we already knew that he was not just an excellent player, but a great coach too, and this time he has demonstrated it very clearly.
It is also nice that you took your revenge on our partners, friends and rivals, the Slovaks. In 2002, as far as I recall, our national team lost, though with a slight advantage, and our Slovak friends became champions. This time, the Russian national team was able to score a decisive victory.
I want to tell you that all of us, at least the people in my generation, have admired our hockey players since we were children, and you have given us another opportunity to do so.
I congratulate you and wish you future success.