Ice Hockey in Russia by Snowmobile (Evgeny Borodin)
Published on Monday, March 3, 2014 in Guest Columns, News & Updates

Ice hockey in Russia is more than ice hockey, this phrase is known to everybody in Russia. Russia feels this sport on the genetic level. Back in the USSR there used to be ice hockey rinks in every neighborhood, the stories about the famous ice hockey players are told to children, and, of course, the historic game in 1972 in Montreal- Russia vs Canada as part of the Summit Series which was refreshed in our memory thanks to the movie Legend No.17 (released in 2013). Our nation is passionate about ice hockey. And to tell the truth, Russians root for ice hockey more passionately than any other Olympic sport.

Here is some evidence: 6 pm on a weekday is a rush hour, everybody is coming back from work. But take my word for it, during the live broadcasting from Sochi the roads were almost empty! People took some time off, or sneaked out of work, or somehow made it. On the day of the hockey battle people wrap up work earlier because in the evening we have the GAME!

I am writing this during the ice hockey game Russia vs Norway. We are normally calm and politically correct, but one must see us during the live broadcasting! It is worth visiting the country to see this. All the nation in sports bars or in front of the TV spur out of our seats, chant and pass on to our team what is called the energy of the stadium. Emotions go over the top, the heart pace is rising. It feels as if we were all there, together with the ice squad.

Evgeny Borodin

I myself play in the NHL (Night Hockey League). I have many more ice hockey jerseys than jackets. The members of the BRP Fan Club share my passion and many of them have hockey snowmobile jerseys. So no wonder that we couldn’t help combining the watching of the Olympic hockey games with a snowmobile tour.

On February 15th the local BRP dealer opened a service centre in a town of Chaikovsky, Perm Region. So we designed a route that covered 300 km to get to this place and bring the snowmobiles, to carry out a presentation of the service centre capabilities, and a presentation of the aquabike SPARK, and to introduce ourselves to the local people. And right from the site we set off for a tour on the snowmobiles. Four hours of the snow bliss, hard wet snow and here we are at the base Zaruby, in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone signal. But the more important thing now is a spacious house, plenty of food on the table and a huge TV. Soaked through like hockey players after the 1st period we sit down, our eyes glued to the screen. Russia v USA on the ice.

It is as important for us as it is for you. But it doesn’t take us long before we jump up to our feet when an apparent goal is disallowed, and we cannot sit down during the shootout, either! You have a good guy T.J Oshie, a real Terminator, who made our blood pressure go up. Our goaltender Bobrovsky is under huge pressure, and the words of the coach Tarasov from the movie Legend No.17 are echoed in the ears of anybody who saw this movie: Defend it as if it were your motherland, your childrení. We admire the shot by Kovalchuk, and the play by Datsuk. They are like members of our own families. And our players also get attention in the USA. We were shown the souvenir store of Ovechkin! We appreciate the fact that Russian hockey players are respected in the US.

We are watching the repetitions until late at night. We are discussing the crucial moments. And for us all of them are crucial, as you might guess. Our ride on the snowmobiles on the second day is built around the game Russia v Slovenia. We got up, had a leisurely breakfast, then the young riders had fun surfing the snow in the fields, and moved toward the next base Pershino. It goes without saying that the tiredness from the ride did not make us less passionate about rooting for hockey.

Now the Club Tuesday is going on. We are discussing a week long tour to the taiga. We must choose between the Northern Horseshoe of the Urals and the plateau Maní-Pupuner, and of course we are watching the game Russia v Norway with all our snowmobile team.

The two offenders of the Russian team met on the ice on February 22. In the bronze medal game the US was fighting against Finland. The Finland’s goals that followed each other within 11 seconds in the second period impressed the whole world. With a 0-5 loss the Americans left the race for the medals, as had done the Russians.

The 23d of February is Menís Day in Russia. We marked it in the right way on a snowmobile tour. After 150km of bright sun, frost and drive we sat down to have dinner at the fishing base Pershino and, of course, to watch the Olympics men’s ice hockey final. Canada v Sweden on the ice. I think the super fast beginning of the Swedes made the bookmakers worried. Nobody expected such pressure! But the fathers of ice hockey sent the opponents to a psychological knockdown with three unanswered goals. Team Canada win outside of North America for the first time in 62 years!

There are foreign teams on the ice, but the crowd is chanting “Ras-see-ya.” This is a celebration of Russia’s first place in the final medal table. I hope you will share our happiness: 33 medals in total, 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze ones. We hope after these Olympics more people will become interested in sports.

I am now wrapping up my letter to you. There is a jersey hanging on the wall. A hockey jersey or a snowmobile jersey? It doesn’t matter. We live with all this. Come over to play hockey and to go for a ride. Share your comments. I will be happy to discuss the games and the trails.

Evgeny Borodin, head of BRP Fan Club, head of Night Hockey League (Russia, c. Perm)

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