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Vladislav Tretiak: "The national team season is over"

21.03.2020
Dear friends,

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced that the 2020 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland has been cancelled, something which shouldn't be a surprise taking into account the worrying pandemic which is currently on our hands.

When all of our sporting events are taken away from us, it means that we need to start appreciating what we have more. It's dreadfully disappointing to end the national team season already, but this is a sign that we must show our strength, look back at our successes and move forward.

This season, we proved that our youth ice hockey has taken a big step forward. For the first time since 1995, we won the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup at under 18 level, beating Canada in the final. This team was ready to perform wonderfully at the World W18 Championship but, unfortunately, it was cancelled like all remaining competitions. I hope that the IIHF will find an opportunity to stage a World Championship for this age group next year.

In Canada, the under 17 Russian national team won the World Hockey Challenge, an unofficial U17 World Championship. At the World Junior Championship, the under 20 national team almost won gold, coming up short in the decisive game against the Canadians.

Our youngest national team, the under 16 side, confidently won the 2020 Junior Olympic Games by thrashing all of the opponents.

These successful results show that we have both a fantastic generation of players coming through the ranks and that we are working well with all of the national teams.

Presentations of the Red Machine National Development Program are taking place across the country for the third consecutive year. New attitudes and a different philosophy in training the children will help the development of ice hockey in Russia. It will also make it easier to achieve success at the World W18 Championship and the World Junior Championship.

An early end to the campaign isn't an excuse to stop working. Our preparation for the 2020/2021 season has already started. We thank the fans for their great support and the players, coaches and staff members for their efforts. Moreover, the club season isn't over yet, as we hope that the Russian championship and junior tournaments will be able to finish. The KHL, VHL and MHL seasons should be able to be completed when we receive permission. As a country, as a planet, we will defeat this virus which has made us stronger.

President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation

Vladislav Tretiak

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