Russian National Amateur Ice Hockey Teams’ Festival 2013-05-10 20:45:00 Sochi Vladimir Putin attended a gala match at the National Amateur Ice Hockey Teams’ Festival, organised by the Russian Amateur Ice Hockey League. The President of Russia presented an award to the team that won first place in the tournament and performed a symbolic throw-in of a hockey puck, signifying the beginning of the match. The game was held between an assembled amateur team and a team of Russian ice hockey stars. Speech ahead of gala match President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, I sincerely welcome all participants and guests to the second major national competition between amateur ice hockey teams. I am very pleased that this initiative by the so-called Night Hockey League was supported by all hockey fans so actively. The first tournament last year was attended by 92 teams from 64 regions around the nation. This year’s competition hosted 124 teams. Today, we have many hundreds, over 900 amateur hockey teams in our country. Millions of our people want to be strong, healthy and successful. It is great to see that our women and young ladies have begun playing hockey more and more actively. Last year, we had twelve women’s teams. I am certain this number will continue to grow. And we are seeing ever greater, more significant results from our hockey players in the international arena. As you know, the world championship is currently underway in Sweden and Finland. We wish our national team success. Very soon, in just nine months, this platform will welcome participants in the Olympic Games. We are happy that we will have the opportunity to welcome the best teams in the world here – just as, for the first and I hope not the last time, this tournament warmly welcomes sports and hockey lovers, as well as amateur hockey team representatives, from abroad. I want to thank all hockey fans. and those who have come today to the stadium. Good luck to all our hockey players, both amateur and professional.