Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

An Icy Struggle on Red Square


Recently, the main square of Moscow, Red Square, a place for the solemn processions of tsars and patriarchs, military parades, and national spectacles, became the venue for a different kind of battle, not one between soldiers, but, a sporting competition. Any world championship team would have been proud to include in their ranks the players that competed there. The best pro world stars of both the present and the past duelled on the ice. The onslaught of winter changes the face of Red Square noticeably. Over the last few years, an enormous skating rink has been erected there. From the morning until late at night, anyone who wants to skate can do so, and those who can hardly stand upright in skates can jump “salkhov”.



Someone got the bright idea of presenting the stars of figure-skating under the majestic Kremlin walls. However, on one of the days of the Christmas holidays, on 10 January, hockey players shot the puck over Red Square. The famous goaltender Vladislav Tretyak, a three-time Olympic champion, the President of the Hockey Federation of the RF, said, “You get a big charge when you lift your eyes off the ice and see that you’re within spitting distance of the Spassky Tower, the Cathedral of St Basil, and the Historical Museum. You really can’t believe that you’re playing here. It’s like a fairy tale. As you look around, you remember the parades that were here, you can see the rockets going through the square in your mind’s eye, and you realise that you’re playing hockey in the same place. Of course, this is a historical event”.


VOR Interviews the famous jazz-man Igor Butman below… how ’bout some music by him?


The athletes really put on a holiday spectacular for the spectators. Igor Butman, a well-known jazz-man and saxophonist, said, “The show that the hockey players gave on the ice was a gripping performance. Look at the way that Larionov improvises, he’s really a phenomenal guy! It’s the same with Kasatonov and Kozhevnikov! All of these guys would be awesome jazz-men”. In the free time, Larionov became the first one to handle the puck. In particular, by the way, he slapped in the first goal during the veteran’s match. After the vets were done, the stars of present-day hockey took the ice. At first, the best players from the best clubs drew lots, they skated around the rink, and they selected the best goaltenders to sit in the nets. Of course, this was only the overture to the main game of the day. It was going towards evening when a Russian team headed by Aleksei Yashin butted heads with a side consisting of foreign players with Russian clubs led by the Czech Olympic champ Jaromír Jágr. Alas, the fates weren’t in favour of the Russians, they lost 7:6. The athletes felt that victory wasn’t the main thing, though. They felt that the main purpose of the match was to give a holiday present to the Moscow hockey fans.

12 January 2009

Svetlana Andreyeva

Voice of Russia World Service



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