President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends!
Over the past few days we have started a very pleasant tradition of congratulating our outstanding athletes on winning the most prestigious international awards. A few days ago it was Zenit’s turn and now your long-awaited, brilliant victory in the World Championship, the first in 15 years. I heartily congratulate you.
In my opinion, as a fan, the whole championship was conducted smoothly, confidently and effectively. The quality of the hockey, again from a fan’s perspective, improved from game to game and, of course, the final match was absolutely unique. I don’t want to lapse into platitudes but everybody knows that it is already part of the annals of world hockey.
I can’t even remember another such victory in recent years — maybe in the 1980s or the 1972 series, although I don’t remember that very clearly.
The entire country was holding its breath for the whole tournament. Incidentally, I think I saw somewhere on the Internet, when fans were discussing the results, that someone confessed to having gone to sleep after the second period. But this person was in the minority and the majority believed in your success and were of course absolutely jubilant when you won. We saw how happy you were, but it was just as obvious how radiantly happy the fans were, happy for your victory and proud of our country.
I would like to express my most heartfelt congratulations to our head coach Vyacheslav Arkadevich Bykov. We spoke on the phone right after the game, and I know that at that point it hadn’t really sunk in. Thank you so much – your triumph speaks for itself. And thank you to all of you, very well done.
Once again, I would like to thank you and express the hope that this encounter here in this room will be the first of many on similar occasions. Russia needs such victories, it needs its sporting glory and you are that glory. Thank you.